News (World)

13-year-old boy died by suicide after homophobic bullying at school

Lucas
LucasPhoto: Family photo

A 13-year-old boy in France named Lucas died by suicide last Saturday, January 7 after facing anti-LGBTQ+ bullying at school. People close to his family say that the school did little to stop the bullying.

The student at the Louis Armand de Golbey middle school in the Vosges department was out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the French magazine Têtu reports.

“He was constantly harassed for the way he dressed, his mannerisms, his presence,” said Stéphanie, a family friend. “He didn’t hide himself and that bothered some people.”

She said Lucas was “always pleasant, caring, spontaneous, full of dreams and a life.”

Psychological help has been made available for students and teachers at the middle school who need it.

“There’s really a lot of emotion from adults who didn’t see anything, didn’t see that Lucas wasn’t doing well recently,” said Valérie Dautresme in a radio interview. She’s the academic services director for the National Education system in the Vosges department.

Dautresme said that Lucas and his mother reported homophobic insults since the start of the school year in September at a parent-teacher meeting.

“For us at this point, the situation had been resolved,” she claimed. “Lucas said that things were working themselves out and that he was no longer being insulted at school.”

Stéphanie contradicted Dautresme’s claim that the matter had been “resolved” and said that Lucas complained “again and again and again. His mother asked for help several times. The school, where he spent three-quarters of his time, didn’t react.”

She said that the family is going to file a formal complaint. The family’s lawyer, Catherine Faivre, said, “There is a whole chain of people with responsibilities who can be investigated and spoken with if, in effect, the elements of an infraction can be constituted.”

Louis Armand de Golbey middle school has been taking part in a national program to fight bullying in schools under the direction of National Education and Youth of France Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. Staff members were to be trained in how to spot bullying and in a protocol on what to do if someone faces bullying.

A fundraiser was opened online to help the family that raised 7554 € ($8200). Lucas’s funeral is planned for Saturday, January 14. A vigil is being planned but the date has not yet been announced.

Editor’s note: This article mentions suicide. If you need to talk to someone now, call the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. It’s staffed by trans people, for trans people. The Trevor Project provides a safe, judgement-free place to talk for LGBTQ youth at 1-866-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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