Sunday, January 22, 2012

Update: Friends Of 14-Year-Old Phillip Parker Say Bullying Of Openly Gay “Obvious” And That It Was Reported To Faculty To No Avail

An update on a previous post, the family of an openly gay Carthage, Tennessee teen who committed suicide Friday said it was a direct result of bullying at school, and now, reports NewsChannel5, the parents of Phillip Parker have questions for leaders at Gordonsville High School. "A sweet kind person like Phillip took it out on himself, he killed himself to get out of the pain," said his grandfather, Paul Harris. At just 14, just a child, 8th grader Phillip Parker felt like life just was not worth living. "Because he was gay, he got mistreated physically, mentally by several people out there at the school, and I am very resentful as a result of it," said Harris. Parents and grandparents found Phillip's body Friday afternoon, minutes later they found a handwritten note in his trash can that read “Please help me mom.” His mother, Gena Parker, said "I should have knew something was wrong, but he seemed happy," his grandfather Harris adding, "After he did what he did, we found out a lot that we didn't know and there is a lot of bullying that goes on at the school." While these parents and grandparents had no idea, the students at Gordonsville High school bombarded them both with information after Phillip's death. More than hundred teens told them the bullying was obvious, and some said they went to teachers about it. Now the Parkers want to know why no one from Gordonsville alerted them to the apparent bullying happening in the hallways. "Whether it's verbal or physical a counsellor at the school should be on top of it and notify the parents. We weren't notified, and Phillip didn't tell us about it," said Harris. Family and friends gathered for Phillip's viewing Sunday night in Carthage and a memorial Facebook page also helped his memory live on. The page was created by a good friend who wanted it to serve as a reminder that hurtful words can cause permanent damage. "Verbal abuse is just as bad as physical abuse," said Harris. These grieving parents want to know what was said to their son and more importantly, who said it. "We are going to find out who done it, we are going to get justice for Phillip and you will pay for what you did to my son," said Parker. The Parkers plan to go to Gordonsville High Monday morning and meet with school leaders. NewChannel5's calls to the principal for comment were not returned Sunday. The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network also met with school leaders and teachers Sunday afternoon to prepare them to help grieving students on Monday. There is a two-hour mandatory suicide prevention training every year for teachers in Tennessee.

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