Heartbroken Mom: 14-Year-Old Son Shot Himself Due to Relentless Bullying
A heartbroken mother and father held a news conference following the suicide of their 14-year-old son, who they say took his own life because of unrelenting bullying.
Lamar "Shaq" Hawkins III shot himself last week in a bathroom at Greenwood Lakes Middle School near Orlando.
"Shaq was emotionally and physically abused while at school," Shaniqua Hawkins said. "They pushed him down stairs, knocked him out of his chair in the cafeteria … repeatedly attacked him with an intent to emotionally harm."
Their son was smaller than his classmates due to health complications when he was younger.
The parents' attorney said Hawkins' father had met with school officials multiple times over a two-year period about the bullying. Shaniqua Hawkins said the family had moved to Florida to escape previous bullying by classmates in New York.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the gun used by the teen belonged to his father.
More on the tragic case from MyFOXOrlando.com:
Seminole County Schools released this statement today saying, "This is a very tragic circumstance and our hearts and prayers remain with the family during this difficult time. We are aware the family held a press conference this morning and allegations of bullying were discussed. The School Board has a comprehensive bullying policy that is fully enforced in all of our schools. We must remind everyone that this is an ongoing law enforcement investigation and Seminole County Public Schools has cooperated fully from the beginning as the Seminole County Sheriff's Office works diligently to gather the facts surrounding this tragedy. The school district remains firmly committed to assisting the family, our students, faculty and staff with support as they continue to grieve and heal. Additional counselors are in place at the school and will remain for as long as necessary," said Dr. Walt Griffin, Superintendent of Seminole County Schools.
The Seminole County Sheriffs Office tells FOX 35 their deputies are working hard trying to determine the circumstances that led up to Lamar "Shaq" Hawkins suicide. FOX 35 has been told that investigators are talking to all of the child's teachers as well as any classmates he knew, spoke with in the days and hours leading up to last week's tragic incident.
Several times during Monday's news conference Shaniqua Hawkins had to pause to regain her composure as she read statement that she and her family had written. "I felt paralyzed by the inability to make the bullying stop at school. I would watch him walk out of the door of my home and know there was a very good chance others would be cruel to him. It's a feeling that I hope no other parent has to feel," said Shaniqua Hawkins.
"We intend to find out what steps were being taken to protect our son from these bullies."
She explained that this has been an especially trying time for her family. "Three weeks ago I gave birth to a baby boy. He did not make it. I held my baby boy and watched him die in my arms and now this," said Shaniqua Hawkins. With her husband holding her hand, she told reporters that they are still having a hard time believing that Shaq is gone. "Our hearts are broken and our lives are forever changed because Shaq is gone."