By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com March 23 2012 1:29 PM ET
A 15-year-old Ohio boy is in a coma today after attempting to kill himself because of bullying that began after he came out.
Austin Rodriguez's mother is calling on the Wellsville, Ohio, high school where he was a student to change its policies.
"If I would have known anything, then I would have done something," Bonnie Rodriguez told local TV station WKBN. Rodriguez said she only learned of the bullying when "friends came out of the woodwork" after the suicide attempt.
Bonnie Rodriguez told another station, WFMJ, that the bullying was both electronic and in person. "They were hiding his gym clothes because they didn't want him changing in the locker room with them," she said. "They didn't want him to eat by them, or in the school lunchroom."
WTRF reports that Wellsville High School held a student assembly in response to the news with four area pastors in attendance for counseling. The school does not have a gay-straight alliance, but principal Linda Rolley says adding one might be considered among changes she'll make in response to an administrative review of what contributed to the suicide attempt.
All the stations report that it's unclear whether Austin Rodriguez will recover, having taken more than 100 pills, after which he collapsed in the kitchen with his mother. The night before, he had told his parents that they "didn't know what was going on his personal life."
Anyone thinking about suicide or in need of support is asked to contact the Trevor Lifeline at (866) 488-7386 for help.
Interview with the mother: