A schoolboy whose mother shared a photo of him in his coffin after he was bullied to death was targeted for being bisexual, his father believes.
Matt Leach said attacks on his 12 year-old son Andy had ramped up after the sixth-grader confided he was struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.
‘He finally came out with the information at school that he thought he may be bisexual.
‘I think that really amped up the bullying.’
Matt added: ‘Kids were telling him, “We’re gonna put hands on you. You’re not going to make it out of this bathroom.” Things of that nature.
‘I want them to know what they’ve done and how it affects other people.’
Andy was found hanged in his father’s garage in Southaven, Mississippi last Tuesday after months of threats by classmates who tormented him.
Cheryl told Metro US: ‘He hung himself, his 16 year-old brother found him.
‘He did leave a note. In fact, he left a few. there were a few different notes that were found, where he’s been thinking of this for quite some time.
‘He left a note, and he drew a picture of how he expected to be found, and that’s how he was found.
Andy was a sixth-grader at Southaven Middle School, with Cheryl slating senior staff there for failing to do more to help her boy.
She said the bullies, who are now being probed by police, began by calling Andy names and escalated their behavior to ‘We’re going to put hands on you’ threats of violence.
Cheryl also paid a tribute to her much missed son – and vowed that she, Andy’s father and her friends would campaign to help stop others suffering the same torment.
Speaking through tears, Cheryl said: ‘Andy was a very fun-loving, outgoing very smart kid
‘He was funny, he was sarcastic, he was compassionate.
‘He was my pride and joy, he was a momma’s boy, and he was proud to admit that.
‘He was a boy scout, and he was just your typical kid that liked to have fun.
‘I’m heartbroken, I’m heartbroken. My ex-husband, my friends and I are not going to stop with the anti-bullying.
‘We are going to make sure that Andy’s voice is heard, and his death is not in vain.’
No-one answered the phone at Southaven Middle School when Metro US called for a comment.
Andy’s father Matt Leach told TV station WREG that Andy ‘struggled a lot internally’ with his sexuality after realizing that he may have been bisexual.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover Andy’s funeral expenses. To donate, click here.
For 24/7 confidential emotional support, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 in the US. For the UK contact Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see http://www.samaritans.org for details.