A 12- year-old boy committed suicide yesterday after being subjected to homophobic bullying because he was the only male on his school’s cheerleading squad. Ronin Shimizu of Folsom Middle School in Folsom, California, took his life on Wednesday, though the exact cause of death is being kept confidential.
Ronin was a well-liked member of the The Vista Jr Eagles cheer team, but was bullied numerous times. “I heard that people called him gay because he was a cheerleader,” one of his teammates told reporters.
Ronin’s parents complained many times, and school officials maintain they followed up, but friends say the harrasment continued. In fact, Ronin had recently left Folsom Middle to be home schooled.
“Any allegations of bullying related to this specific incident, we’re certainly reviewing how we responded to those and we’ll use that as an opportunity to always take a look at how we respond to future allegations,” said Daniel Thigpen of the Folsom Cordova School District.
Tonight, students and parents gathered outside Ronin’s home and held a candlelight vigil.
Former classmates say they were stunned by the news of Ronin’s death: “He was always so passionate like he didn’t care what a lot of people said,’ said friend Hunter Reed. “He just kept going on with life. He was always so happy, like the happiest person I’ve ever met.”
h/t: Joe My God