Friends and family gathered Friday to mourn a 14-year-old student from Cashmere, Wash., who committed suicide last week after he was bullied for being gay. His death is at least the fourth suicide reported this year among LGBT youth.
The Wenatchee World reports that Rafael Morelos hanged himself in late January after enduring repeated bullying, including a fake Facebook page reportedly set up to taunt him online. His mother, Malinda Morelos, said she had known her son was gay for a few years, but didn’t know he was being bullied.
“He pretended everything was OK,” she said. “Sometimes he acted strong, but inside, he was dying, little by little.”
Rob Cline, principal at Cashmere Middle School, where Morelos was enrolled, said school officials had taken “appropriate action” earlier in the year when Morelos was bullied, but declined to say what action the district took to combat antigay attacks.
“Student discipline is not something I am at liberty to share,” Cline said.
The investigation is currently closed, but local police officials have said it would be reopened if the school or family presents evidence of bullying.