Asher Brown came home from school last Thursday while his parents were at work. He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students at Hamilton Middle School in Houston.
He used his stepfather’s 9mm Beretta, stored on a closet shelf, to kill himself. He left no note.
“For some reason, he stood out and people were just cruel. Kids were cruel to my kid. He was very different. He’s not the type of kid that would try to wear the newest clothes or try to do the coolest thing. He was an individual,” says David Truong, Asher’s stepfather.
The 13-year-old’s parents said they had complained about the bullying to school officials during the past 18 months, but claimed their concerns fell on deaf ears.
David and Amy Truong said they made several visits to the school to complain about the harassment, and Amy Truong said she made numerous phone calls to the school that were never returned.
That statement has infuriated the Truongs, who accused the school district of protecting the bullies and their parents.
“That’s absolutely inaccurate — it’s completely false,” Amy Truong said. “I did not hallucinate phone calls to counselors and assistant principals. We have no reason to make this up. … It’s like they’re calling us liars.”
The Truongs say Asher confided in them that he was gay on the morning of his suicide. The parents say the conversation went so well, they believe he went on to confess to children at his school.
On September 9, 15-year-old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, IN, hanged himself at his grandmother’s home. Friends of Lucas said that he had been tormented for years based on his perceived sexual orientation.
And in California, 13-year-old gay teen Seth Walsh remains in critical condition and on life support after he attempted to hang himself last week in what friends and neighbors describe as another case of anti-gay bullying.