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Anti-gay bullying leads to another tragic teen suicide

Monday, March 14, 2011

RITTMAN, Ohio — Another young life lost to anti-gay bullying.

Nicholas Kelo Jr. knew what it was like to be relentlessly bullied, his family said, and it may have been what persuaded him to pry open a safe inside his home on Feb. 23, and remove the gun that killed him, reports the Akron Beacon Journal.

FAMILY PHOTO

Nicholas Kelo Jr.

He was 13 years old. It is unknown as to whether or not Nick was gay, but that did not stop his bullies or their attacks.

”It had been going on for years,” Jacqueline Kelo [Nick's mother] said. ”We would talk and he would say [of the bullies] that they were not worth his time.”

Nick played football in middle school but gave up the sport this year to participate in high school band.

The switch, Jacqueline Kelo reasoned, resulted in swelling rumors. Some, she said, wrongly assumed that a kid who would prefer to play the tenor sax rather than tossing a pigskin must be gay.

“After that, it [the bullying] spiraled out of control,” she said.

One such incident allegedly happened on a school bus following a football game, explained the mother of another Rittman teenager who said her son is also a victim of bullying. During the incident, Nick allegedly became the victim of an older student who was “glicking” — forcibly spitting on him. Jacqueline Kelo knew something was bothering her son when he came home, but the eighth-grader refused to share the details — telling her that he would handle it himself. The parents became aware of it only after their son’s death.

Jacqueline Kelo said it didn’t surprise her that her son kept his pain to himself. Nick viewed himself as his mother’s protector.

“He was the man of the house,” the single mother said.

Nick’s death is being investigated as a likely suicide, according to Rittman police.

Nick recently scored 152 on an IQ test, which is classified as superior intelligence. He had a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and was an avid inventor, creating both a waffle fork to remove hot food from a toaster and an incinerator trash can. Nine of Nick’s organs were collected and donated.

News of Nick’s death comes just days after the White House held a high-visibility conference on bullying prevention, with the President and First Lady calling on parents, teachers, students, and communities to address the problem together.

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69 more reader comments:

  1. :’(

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:42pm
  2. WHEN WILL THIS STOP?!?!

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:43pm
  3. dislike.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:43pm
  4. seriously this has to stop ;( RIP

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:43pm
  5. :( this really sucks. I really hope things get better.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:44pm
  6. this has to stop.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:44pm
  7. This is so sad. He could have had a bright future with his intelligence, but the ignorance and hatred brought that to an end. :(

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:45pm
  8. Okay, this bullying has GOT to stop! >:-(

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:45pm
  9. Such a tragedy :(

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:45pm
  10. How many will it take before the country realizes that we have a major problem on our hands? The people who bullied him should be held accountable for what happened. No one deserves that kind of mental torture, especially when it’s because of something you can’t help.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:45pm
  11. Ugh. I feel like giving up… When will America wake up?

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:47pm
  12. The fact that this kid was smart enough at 13 to invent all the things he did, play football and sax, and have a black belt ….. and still suffer from attacks of bullies. To the people who don’t understand how bullying leads to suicide, and that people should be “smarter than that,” this is a great and tragic example that life isn’t that simple, and words can hurt deeper than you think. My heart goes out to his mom

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:47pm
  13. :[ RIP <3

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:48pm
  14. </3

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:49pm
  15. Tragic news. My heart hurts for this young man and his family:(

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:50pm
  16. WHY?!

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:52pm
  17. I will pray for his parents and friends!!Bullying is driven by fear and lack of acceptance!! Remember people Karma is real,the bullies will get theirs!

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 2:53pm
  18. My heart goes out to that poor child! <3

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 3:06pm
  19. I am sadden to hear of yet another suicide from this painfully awful truth that we all must face, just wish there was something that we could do to prevent it but that wont come to terms until we all face facts and talk to our kids to make this a better generation

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 3:15pm
  20. I can’t believe that this is happening again! And just when things were beginning to get better; WHEN IS THIS BULLSHIT GOING TO STOP!

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 3:18pm
  21. A big part of the problem is that we as a society put too much emphasis on athletics. As with poor Nicholas here, anyone who doesn’t want to play a sport has to be gay and therefore is eligible for bullying and harassment.

    This is something that never should have happened and my heart goes out to his family and friends.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 3:27pm
  22. Hundreds of people commit suicide a day…it’s always been happening, so I don’t see why people are acting like they’re so shocked. This will keep on happening…

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 3:40pm
  23. R.I.P.and strength to go on for his family

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 3:55pm
  24. Oh no.
    I am so scared. Every time it seems that LGBT youth suicide has stopped, another one happens.
    We, as a proud community, needs to stop this. It doesn’t matter how much it may cost. It doesn’t matter how much people will hate us. We know who we are and we know that this wont stop until we do something about it.
    Every day, I hear people use hateful words towards me. I am constantly beaten down by my classmates for being born this way. It does effect me. Sometimes, I feel like theres nothing I can do. Sometimes, I believe that suicide will solve things.
    I AM WRONG.
    It does get better. I want this message to go out to all of the youth. Not just the gay ones, but the black ones, the asian ones, the hispanic ones and the strange ones. The people in your class may tell you you are abnormal, a freak, a fag, a mistake, or a human gone wrong.
    THEY ARE WRONG.
    You are beautiful. Every single one of you. These may seem like recycled words, but I mean every word I say.
    I, a gay youth, is here for you.
    We, the LGBT community, are here for you.
    If you ever feel alone, know that you will always be loved, and that hurtful words are always lies.

    “It is abnormal to exclude; I think every colour of the rainbow is beautiful.” – Liam Ross

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 3:57pm
  25. But Christians will keep calling it a sin. They need to help out and stop saying that, *really*.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:08pm
  26. =’( RIP

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:08pm
  27. So sad to hear of this terrible tragedy.. R.I.P., Nicholas.. My prayers are w/ you and your family in this time of sorrow..

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:13pm
  28. wow sad sad jesus freaks

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:17pm
  29. why would someone”like” this? Humans can be so very evil.My heart gos out to the family of this precious soul:(

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:18pm
  30. Thirteen? But he was just a baby D’: J-Just a baby!
    Why world? Why?!

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:19pm
  31. Kris Smith is stupid.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:21pm
  32. This is just sad! In so many ways this needs to stop! MUST stop! As the song goes….Only the good die young! 8-[ RIP

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:23pm
  33. wow…grow up.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:24pm
  34. WTF this is insane! :(

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:26pm
  35. I am heartbroken that such an amazing young man is no longer with us. He had such a promising future…if only he could have made it through his teens. My condolences to Nicholas’s family and friends. What will it take for this bullying to stop? Do we need to start prosecuting these bullies for aggravated assault or manslaughter? They need to be held accountable for their actions.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:28pm
  36. I’m tearing up even as I read the article… another talented young person lost to hatred :’(

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:28pm
  37. @Kris: If you really think people are evil for wanting to stay informed, then you’re stupid. I deal with people like you all the time. Just because they click “Like” doesn’t necessarily mean they like it, they are just interested and care about the issue, and they want to be updated on the discussion. So you grow up.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:29pm
  38. I meant evil as in liking that a child is dead….Im a 40 yr old lesbian that was tortured in school and I fight bullying every day.You really should not speak harsh to people if you dont understand them.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:31pm
  39. people like me who are involved in gay rights and counseling gay youth?

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:32pm
  40. People who think people who “Like” the article are for it. They just want new comment notifications because they care. You think anyone here actually likes that someone is dead? Really???

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:35pm
  41. This is terrible and NEEDS 2 stop!!! :/

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:36pm
  42. you have alot of anger and hostility for no reason.I find it quite sad that in times such as these we should stick together and you feel the need to bully me when you misunderstood completely.And yes people do like things like that sadly.I see hatred and intolerance EVERY day…and I have 40 yrs of seeing it.So my heart gos out to the victims of such.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:38pm
  43. omg i cried….r.i.p
    we stand strong for those who have fallen.. <3

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:39pm
  44. Yeah, “it gets better” …but WHEN?

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:42pm
  45. They should have undercover kids working at school. Record all of the bullying on video and report it to the police. Just an idea. Something needs to be done!

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:50pm
  46. why cant people grow up it neds to stop

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:20pm
  47. Thats so sad.like i sed all cops r usles dumasses victms cant evn ask 4 help ik cuz im goin thru the same thng

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:25pm
  48. At 15 with a daughter im gay and torturd daily :,(

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:27pm
  49. Kris: Kinda sad that you would change your story to avoid the public humiliation of being called out on youe error in thinking. I understood perfectly. Now how long are you going to keep up this argument? I have other things to do and I will not respond to any further whining on your part. Good night.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:28pm
  50. *hugs Jake*

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:28pm
  51. This world is so dark and cold it needs 2 end

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:30pm
  52. Ive changed no story.Just this week alone on gay pride pages I have reported over 100 hateful and violent comments towards gays.People will “like” a page just to harass and spread hatred.And this was just on gay pages alone….this is the real world we live in.And you dont make it any better by being a bully and acting out of context.I wish you peace.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:32pm
  53. :/

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:36pm
  54. Yes Jake it does…and the gay community must pull together to fight it….sadly im not seeing as much unity lately as id like…but we must stand firm.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:36pm
  55. omg…not another tragedy !!wen does it end ??

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:56pm
  56. god…it’s jus soooo depressing to hear of yet another tragedy !!wen does the madness end?wen do people learn wen to stop all the hate…….rip in peace little one ,my heart is sad for you n’ your family.LOVE U ………………

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 6:00pm
  57. i am sickend to hear of this AGIAN! :(….. these bullies need to be held acountable for thier actions.

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 6:24pm
  58. Liam, I am so impressed by your post and your strength. I am http://www.wordpress.standingupstrong.com and seeking guest bloggers from a YOUTH perspective. I created the site to STAND UP for my son and everyone like him, in support and strength to make a difference……If you are interested in writing a column monthly and/or having your OWN Page full of thoughts and events and ideas and creativity I would encourage you to email me
    jessicaarent@gmail.com

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 7:24pm
  59. Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 7:26pm
  60. @ Heriberto – does the cool, callous pose score a lot of points up on the Olympian heights?

    Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 9:50pm
  61. Murdered by the Jesus freaks and the Republicans. the same people who talk about protecting life.

    wwww.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

    Google for vatican bank scandal, Bishop Williamson UNexcommunicated, Southern baptists and child molestation.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 12:19am
  62. several coments on here blame republicans and or christians for this tradgity that in it self is a form of descrimition,and does not reflect the tone of the article. for all we know this kid was an effeminate mormon that was not ashamed of his faith and his classmates we offended by his prostilitising.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 11:23am
  63. OMG I am horrified that there is another young and beautiful life lost due to bullying. We have all got to take a stand. Create a task force or a committee in your community or your schools. Stand up and roar. We have got to stop the insanity. To Nicholas’ mom Jacqueline, may the Lord and Heavenly Father hold your heart in his hands and comfort your soul. Nicholas is and will forever be with you .

    Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 2:54pm
  64. No one should call themselves a “christian” if they can’t love everyone…what would Jesus say?

    Posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 5:24pm
  65. Your link is no good, where can I find it???

    Posted on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 5:27pm
  66. gays one day are gunna be accepted for who they are but that day isnt comming fast enough…. my heart goes out to his family </3

    Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 8:08am
  67. calling out the bullying does not seem to work so well. Our children are being exterminated by bashing and vile speech. It’s time to start kicking the living crap out of these kids because the teachers mostly won’t help so it is time to make the point painfully clear to these thugs.

    Posted on Friday, April 22, 2011 at 12:13am
  68. We need to start holding the schools accountable, too many of them just ignore what’s going on, this is disgraceful. God bless you

    Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:13pm
  69. This. Is. Shameful.

    Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 11:31am