For the father of bisexual teenager Adam Kizer, the pain is still fresh, days after his son was taken off life support last weekend following a suicide attempt. He was 16.
According to the Post Democrat, on May 17, Contra Costa, Calif., "sheriff’s deputies took [Adam] for a mental health evaluation,” but released him claiming he wasn’t a risk to himself. On May 26, not 10 days later, Adam killed himself.
“It’s the worst pain you can ever imagine,” Adam’s father, William Kizer, told The Press Democrat.
Adam came out as bisexual six months ago, to a supportive family and to friends.
“[We said] if you’re happy we are happy. I supported him completely,” Kizer tells The Advocate. Despite the support from his family, Adam had issues at Sonoma Valley High School.
“I don’t think the boy went a whole week without somebody messing with him,” his father told the Press Democrat, recounting how fellow students told Adam he should take his own life.
But school officials told the local media they were oblivious to the bullying. According to the Press Democrat, Sonoma Valley High School Principal, Kathleen Hawing, claims she “had not heard any reports that Adam had been bullied.”
The Press Democrat also reported that Aaron Anderson, an art teacher at Sonoma Valley High, was “not aware that [Adam] had been bullied.” The newspaper noted that Adam was a member of the gay-straight alliance that Anderson supervises.
“But you can’t be everywhere at once,” Anderson told the Press Democrat. “I don’t really know what he was experiencing.”
William Kizer, however, says school officials were aware of the bullying his son endured. "I have gone to the schools over and over," Kizer tells The Advocate. "They never did anything.”
Kizer says his son's death is the tragic end to a long history of bullying, both in and out of school.
When Adam was 9 years old, he was tied to a tree by neighborhood children and drenched in gasoline.
“They were going to light him on fire,” Kizer told The Press Democrat. Luckily, Adam was able to get away, says his father. Kizer said no criminal charges were filed in that incident.
But when Adam got into a fight with bullies at his elementary school, he was arrested and expelled for the altercation, Kizer told the Press Democrat. His son spent the next two years in the juvenile justice system, until coming back home in 2013. That’s when Adam enrolled in Sonoma Valley High School.
Kizer says he is proud of his son, especially in that he was an organ donor. He tells The Advocate that Adam’s organs were used to help save three lives.
He also said he's considering legal action against Somona Valley High School.
"It's so very horrible," Kizer tells The Advocate. "I stay home all day just waiting for him to come home."
The 16-year-old's death comes just weeks after the death of 13-year-old Alyssa Morgan, another bisexual youth who ended her life last month. In the wake of her daughter's death, Morgan's mother expressed similar frustrations with school administrators who, in response to Morgan’s bullying, allegedly took the stance that teenager needed to “toughen up.”
If you or someone you know are an LGBT young person (ages 24 and younger) struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. Transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals needing support can contact the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.