The mom of a Henrico, Virginia teen is speaking out after her son died of drowning in a pool.
According to NBC 12, the teenager, who was identified as 16-year-old Vernard Morton, was found by police at an apartment complex pool around 5:30 p.m. on June 15.
Vernard’s mother, Angie Morton, told NBC 12 that her son had a learning disability and was often bullied as a result. She even took to Facebook to say that she believes Vernard was bullied “by a dozen kids” and forced into the nine-feet deep pool.
Lord help me everyone my son has passed away from a drowning yesterday at Seven Gables apartments he was bully [sic] and made to jump in the 9 feet pool.. I need Justice I love him so much I’m really going to miss him so much I want him back.
Angie told NBC 12 that it was around 3:00 p.m. when Vernard got a call from a girl telling him to meet her and the other kids at White Oak Apartments.
The mom said all Vernard ever wanted was friends; he believed that if “they hanging with me, maybe they’ll be my friend.” As Angie told NBC 12, those kids were just pretending to be Vernard’s friends.
NBC 12 reports that the mom said that soon after Vernard arrived, he was pushed into the deep end of the pool. He hit his head and sunk to the bottom.
By the time help arrived, Vernard was already brain dead. He was rushed to a local hospital where he passed away the following day with his mom by his side:
“My son died because these little boys dared him and forced him into the pool. I think someone killed my son, because they say everyone ran and left my son in the water.”
Vernard was described as “the perfect guy” by Demond Alston, who had known the teen since middle school. Alston said he had witnessed Vernard being bullied at school, adding that kids would make fun of him for no real reason.
As StopBullying.org reports, between one in four and one in three U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. According to StopBullying.org:
The most common types of bullying are verbal and social. Physical bullying happens less often. Cyberbullying happens the least frequently.
Angie alleges that the pool was full of people, yet no one helped her son. She said everyone there thought he “was playing.” According to 11Alive, if you see an individual drowning, you should:
- Scream to call 911
- Get help and pull the person towards you with arm or pool skimmer
- Grab their wrists and pull them out
- Roll them over and start CPR
However, as Swift Creek YMCA Aquatics Director Rob Brit explained to NBC 12, it may not be the best idea to actually jump in the water to save someone because even the strongest of swimmers can get dragged down by someone who is panicking.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Angie with the unexpected costs of a funeral for Vernard.