An Ohio father is grieving over his 13-year-old son who was found dead January 11 after enduring over a year of taunting and ridicule about his clothes and family finances.
Aaron Fuller’s father, Steve Fuller, told the Toledo Blade that his son quit fighting against bullies who relentlessly picked on the teen.
He said Aaron was so embarrassed by the way he dressed he was willing to wear a pair of old beat up Nikes just to ward off the taunts and mockery.
Before his death, Steve said kids often made fun of his clothes from bargain stores. Aaron was willing to wear a holey pair of name brand sneakers instead of a new pair from Walmart to keep his tormentors at bay.
But the harassment wouldn’t stop, according to Aaron’s family.
One time when he forgot his lunch, kids at school told him his parents didn’t love him enough to feed him. He was so disturbed by the teasing he responded by taking $135 that his dad had given him for a school trip and used the money to open a lunch account at Lake Middle School.
Aaron’s uncle Joshua Tooley told the Sentinel-Tribune:
“He was picked on and picked on and picked on, and Friday night was the last night he was going to be picked on.”
Sadly, when the bullying spread to social media his family believes he took his life after he was told to kill himself.
His family returned home to find that Aaron had hanged himself with a belt in his bedroom. His stepmother, Tami Fuller, tried to revive the boy through CPR to no avail. His dad said:
“Every night when I go upstairs, his room is right across from ours, and I look in there and I still can’t believe it, I still say goodnight to him and tell him that I love him.
I can’t say it hasn’t sunk in that he’s gone, but I don’t want to believe it. I just can’t believe it right now.”
Steve reported the incident to school officials since he believes Aaron buckled under the pressure of abuse after it crossed over onto social media. Last September he tried to take his own life by drinking a bottle of rum.
The school is investigating the incident but will make no further comments regarding the child’s death due to an ongoing police investigation.
Aaron’s family hopes his story will bring awareness to bullying prevention.
So much talent. I gave you a ton of art supplies and when you we seen each other again you were so eager to show me what…
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
A GoFundMe account was set up to pay for his funeral expenses.