Child suicide due to bullying has become all too common and this case is especially hurtful. Seven Bridges, 10, was a "miracle child" for his parents. Tami Charles and Donnie Bridges, Seven's parents, had struggled with infertility and when Seven was born, he had some medical difficulties that left him wearing a colostomy bag. After enduring 26 surgeries over the course of his ten short years, Seven's only wish was to be "normal" like other children.
Once his colostomy bag was removed, Seven and his parents thought that his worries would be over but, they had just begun. The children at school began teasing and bullying Seven because, although his colostomy bag had been removed, the site still leaked from time to time. This bullying lead to an incident that took place last September on his school bus.
Just a few months later, Seven Charles Thomas Bridges took his own life.
Seven's mother had gone to the grocery store, his father was at choir practice. When his mother returned home, she found her only child dead in a closet in the family home.
WHAS11 reports that the school released a statement after the suicide saying:
“We are devastated. Our hearts are breaking for this family. This school community is hurting right now,” Murphy said.
Charles told WHAS 11 she does plan to take legal action.
“The balls that were dropped,” she said, blaming the bullies and a flawed system that couldn’t protect her son.
“It wasn't that JCPS didn't have these tools, they just weren't at our school. It wasn't that they didn't have these tools to help the victims of bullying, they just weren't there, they weren't used,” Charles explained.
Murphy said JCPS takes bullying and this issue very seriously and said there is a bullying prevention hotline.
Charles said the Kerrick Elementary Principal came to the hospital after Seven was found. She said she’s grateful for that.
“He will not be forgotten,” she said.
Seven was planning to attend W.E.B. DuBois Academy next year to start the 6th grade.
“We kept telling him this will all be over,” Charles said, referring to a fresh start at a new school surrounded by children who wouldn’t know about his condition. Charles said she hopes Seven’s story will make bullies think twice, and create a kinder world."
Due to the nature of Seven's death their life insurance company has declined to cover his final arrangements. The family has opened a GoFundMe account to help with the costs. Seven's public viewing and funeral have been scheduled for February 1st and 2nd.
Parents, we urge you to have a conversation with your children about being accepting of children with disabilities or who are in any way "different". No child should be teased and bullied to the point that they even consider taking their own lives. The power to end childhood suicide is in the hands of the PARENTS.