LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville mother found her 10-year-old son dead over the weekend by an apparent suicide.
Tami Charles spoke Monday about her son Seven Bridges, who in his free time used to dress up as a powerful super hero. His mother said his smile hid his sadness.
“Even talking about it and letting him express himself, there was still a sorrow that he couldn’t let us in,” Charles said.
Bridges was a fifth grader at Kerrick Elementary School and was tormented by bullies, Charles said.
Charles began documenting her son’s torment months ago. She posted videos expressing his pain from bullying. Charles said he was born with a medical defect that required a colostomy bag. Numerous surgeries to his bowels didn’t completely solve the defect, and spare clothing was left at the school in the case of any bowel leak, she said.
“We signed him up for DuBois academy,” Charles said. “We would talk to him about having new friends and a new start. He just had to get to the end of the year.”
Charles found her son Saturday morning in their home.
“At 10 years old, my question is how did you even know how to do that?” Charles said.
Bridges is the youngest JCPS student to commit suicide this school year.
“This is something that is just crushing,” JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said. “This is nothing we ever want to hear. We are all devastated by this.”
Murphy said the district will investigate Bridges' experience with bullying. Doctors from Norton Children’s Hospital say in this age group, suicidal thoughts typically stem from relationships.
“One day they have the thought, ‘I just can’t be here anymore,’ and they impulsively make a really drastic decision,” Dr. Katy Hopkins, a psychologist with Norton Children’s Medical Associates, said.
Hopkins said while suicide is the second-leading cause of death for children, it is still rare. She said there are signs families and parents can look for to identify suicidal behavior.
Charles said she and her husband never expected their son’s sorrow to turn to suicide. They are looking for change to prevent future pain.
“We need to talk about this bullying,” Charles said. “Talk about this pain. I want people to do that with their children.”
Bridges' family is raising funds to help pay for the boy’s funeral.