Joel Morales, a 12-year-old boy who was harassed about his intelligence, his height, and his deceased father, killed himself in the New York City apartment he shared with his mother.
“I want to remember him as a happy kid,” said his distraught sister yesterday.
Morales, of East Harlem, moved to a different school after being bullied for months, but the bullying didn’t stop, said the fifth-grader’s family.
Other students chased Morales, threw sticks at him, and teased him about his brains and his 4-foot-9 stature.
Morales apparently couldn’t stand it anymore after bullies teased him about his father, who died when Joel was just four years old, according to family.
His mother, Lisbeth Babilonia, found him hanging in their apartment at around 11:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday night, just hours after she had organized a search party to scour the neighborhood when he didn’t come home on time from an after-school club.
An occupational therapist at one of the boy’s schools said he really only reluctantly discussed his problems.
“It was very difficult, especially with a child like Joel who wants so badly to please everyone, to see that he was really in pain, that he was struggling,” said Maria Ubiles.
A classmate told Morales’ family members he had said he was tired of the bullying and told them of the comment about his father that was the last straw.
Police say Joel Morales left no suicide note.
More in the video below.
- Harlem Boy Commits Suicide After Relentless Bullying (nymag.com)
- Harlem Boy, 12, Driven to Suicide by Bullies (harlemworldmag.com)