Bullying blamed for 12-year-old boy's suicide

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC) - A family is in mourning after a 12-year-old boy committed suicide.

Family members said Andy Leach took his own life after he was bullied relentlessly by a group of kids at Southaven Middle School.

Cheryl Hudson, Andy's mother, said the kids constantly told him he was fat, ugly, and worthless.

She said her other son found Andy's body hanging in a room at his father's home.

"One minute I feel like I'm numb. The next minute I break down," Hudson said. "I can't fathom another parent having to put their child in the ground the way we just did."

Jacqueline Carter is a counselor at DeSoto Family Counseling. She said more and more she's asked to work with kids coping with bullying.

Carter said social media and technology are the main reasons bullying is getting worse.

The good news, according to Carter, is that there are signs adults can watch for to see if a child is being bullied.

"Look for the social outcasts. They're more withdrawn. Those who are afraid to raise their hands in class, speak out," Carter said.

A GoFundMe was set up to assist Andy's family cope with funeral costs. Click here if you'd like to donate.

DeSoto County Schools released the following statement concerning the family's concerns that bullying is to blame for Andy's death:

"All bullying reports are treated with the utmost importance.  Students and parents are encouraged to contact school officials anytime there are bullying concerns, and they can use a link on the DeSoto County Schools website if they would prefer to report bullying incidents anonymously.  All claims are investigated thoroughly, and school counselors are trained to help students and intervene when they are aware of a situation. Our hearts go out to this young student's friends and family."

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