FOLSOM, Calif. — A 12-year-old middle-school student in Folsom, Cailf., committed suicide this week and friends and family say relentless anti-gay bullying was the cause because the boy was on the cheerleading squad last year.
Ronin Shimizu died shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Sacramento County coroner’s office.
Police have not released any additional information regarding Ronin’s death, other than to say it was “non-suspicious,” a term they use to describe natural death, accidental death or suicide.
But friends and parents said Ronin took his own life because of ongoing bullying.
Last year, Ronin was in sixth grade at Folsom Middle School and was the only boy on the school’s cheerleading squad. Several classmates say Ronin has been called gay ever since.
The bullying got to be so bad, Ronin was taken out of school and had to be home-schooled. He was also being home schooled this year.
“He was bullied very badly,” Riley Coleman said as she teared up. The Folsom Middle School sixth grader was on the squad with Ronin last year. “It’s not ok to bully people,” she told KXTV.
Neighbor Danii Bello, 14, said Ronin loved cheerleading and liked to make his own clothes.
Daniel Thigpen with the Folsom Cordova School District confirms they did get a number of complaints from Ronin’s parents, according to KCBS-TV. They say they followed protocol, but friends say the taunting just wouldn’t stop.
On Thursday evening, friends and members of the school’s cheerleading squad organized a candlelight vigil near Ronin’s home in Folsom.
Editor’s Note: If you or a young person you know is LGBT and thinking about suicide, please call The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. For adults over 24, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.