ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. — Students at a local school are grieving a classmate. Friends say the young man took his own life because he couldn’t take any more bullying.
And they say school officials knew about the torment but didn’t do enough to stop it.
Friends say that kids bullied Jacob Rogers at Cheatham County Central High School for the past four years, but in the past few months it had become so bad he dropped out of school.
And Wednesday, he ended his life.
“He started coming home his senior year saying ‘I don’t want to go back. Everyone is so mean. They call me a f****, they call me gay, a queer,'” friend Kaelynn Mooningham said.
Kaelynn said her friend Jacob felt ignored.
“Jacob told me no one was helping him. He constantly was going to guidance,” she said.
But Cheatham County Schools Director Dr. Tim Webb said the school was only aware of one incident of bullying.
“She actually intervened and called the students in accused of bullying or picking. She called them in, talked to them and gave them warnings. Subsequently after that, she ran into the student and asked him if things were better and he indicated that things were better,” Webb said.
But Kaelynn knows that Jacob wasn’t OK. Things were still so bad around Thanksgiving that he ultimately quit going to school.
“No one would listen and stand up for him,” she said.
Brentwood attorney Larry Crane has worked on several cases involving bullying where schools failed to do enough.
“Federal government is taking a closer look at these cases,” he said.
And now, those like Kaelynn are wondering when is enough, finally enough?
“It just doesn’t have to make sense. How many kids have to die before Cheatham does something,” she said.
Kaelynn says Jacob lived with his grandmother who primarily took care of him. She found a couple notes that Jacob left for her. In those notes Jacob left passwords to his email and his phone so investigators could determine why he chose to kill himself.
As for Cheatham Central, counselors will be on hand again Thursday for grieving classmates.
Friends of Jacob’s family say they likely don’t have enough money to hold a funeral. Donations for a funeral are being accepted at Sandman’s Ink Shop, a local tattoo shop in Ashland City.
A video report is also available at WSMV-TV.