A precocious 12-year-old boy took his own life by hanging in a tragic ode to persistent bullying. The sixth grader, named Andrew Leach, left a note behind, explaining his drastic actions to his devastated parents.
His father, Matt Leach, admitted that his bright and thoughtful son had been plagued by bullies for years. This was confirmed by his heart wrenching note. Andrew made the terrible decision after he was relentlessly bullied for coming out as bisexual.
Andrew’s 16-year-old brother found his body in the family garage in a Memphis suburb. Andrew attended the Southaven Middle School in Mississippi. However, the school was anything but a haven for him.
The school yard became his metaphorical hell after other children tormented him about his sexuality, according to the New York Post. His father said that his son had been “struggling a lot internally with sexual orientation.” When he finally came out, instead of celebrating his bravery, kids at the school “amped up” their bullying.
Andrew’s mother, Cheryl Hudson, reported that both of her sons were bullied. In Andrew’s case, he was plagued by a specific group of children who would call him “fat, ugly and worthless.” The preteen finally decided he couldn’t put up with it and ended the bullying, albeit in a tragic manner.
Andrew’s personality didn’t match his drastic action, though. His mother said he was always smiling and had a very loving heart. Most of his time was spent outdoors; he often went out camping. He also loved cheering people up when they weren’t feeling good. He was a caring and generous child.
It’s a shame that his classmates didn’t appreciate this side of him; they didn’t bother to get to know him for who he was. Instead, they judged his outer appearance and sexual preferences, and picked on him.
Bullying has taken more than one life at Andrew’s school. Cheryl reported that a few years ago, a young girl killed herself by hanging from a water tower. Allegedly, she was also a victim to schoolyard bullies.
Andrew’s parents now want to raise awareness about the problem that took their son away from them. “I want them to know what they’ve done and how it affects other people,” his dad said.
He also wants to warn other parents to check for signs in their children; he cautioned to check irregular sleeping habits, moods and eating patterns.
We hope Andrew rests in peace.