Seven Bridges' mother Tami Charles revealed that her son was choked and called a racial slur on the school bus months before his death.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on November 29, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger Warning: This article contains themes of self-harm and suicide that some readers may find distressing.
A 10-year-old boy allegedly died by suicide after being constantly bullied for his colostomy bag. According to WHAS11, Seven Bridges was found dead by his mother, Tami Charles, who had just arrived home from a quick shopping trip at the grocery store. The heartbreaking incident, which unfolded back on January 19, 2019, left the Kentucky mother absolutely devastated.
"His hanging body was discovered by his mother," read a GoFundMe page. "I saw my son dead. That’s something in my head," Charles told the outlet. Her husband, Donnie Bridges, was also not at home at the time. "For the few minutes that we left, he didn’t want us to see that," said Bridges who was attending a church choir practice according to PEOPLE.
During the short span of his 10-year life, Seven was faced with many problems. Right after his birth, the child had to undergo several surgeries, including the insertion of a colostomy bag. According to Medical News Today, a colostomy bag "collects fecal matter from the digestive tract through an opening in the abdominal wall called a stoma." But this procedure was temporary as the bag was removed when he grew older. Unfortunately, the boy continued facing issues as his waste would leak out. Tragically, students at Kerrick Elementary used this bowel condition to allegedly ridicule Seven as it would smell.
"Twenty-six surgeries from the day my son was born. Twenty-six surgeries. He just wanted to be normal, that’s all," shared the heartbroken mother. The brave boy continued living his life despite the heartless treatment of other kids, but things went out of hand when Seven was allegedly choked and called a racial slur while he was riding the school bus, according to WDRB. "He couldn’t fight back," said Bridges. "He didn’t know how to hurt you. He had no malice, none." When his parents became aware of this incident, Charles immediately informed the school’s administrators and an investigation was launched.
While Charles thought her stand would end her son's troubles, it only made things worse for the young boy. "Because I was so aggressive in advocating for him, they started to act differently toward him," said the mother explaining the behavior of the students and faculty members. Almost a month before Seven took the drastic step, his parents found him hysterically crying in his bed. When asked, the boy said that he wanted to "let the past be the past" but his friends went on to ostracize him further. "We cried that night," said Charles recalling the heartbreaking night.
Despite the tricky situation, the mother never imagined that her son would actually die by suicide especially when he was gearing up to begin 6th grade at W.E.B. DuBois Academy the following year. "We kept telling him this will all be over," shared Charles while speaking to WHAS11. Following the boy's untimely death, Jefferson County Public Schools Communications Director Renee Murphy released a statement. "We are devastated. Our hearts are breaking for this family. This school community is hurting right now," Murphy said. But Seven's mother partly blames the school for her son's death saying they could have done more to help when he was still alive.
"We found that the school system had a lot of holes and a lot of inconsistencies with their policies about bullying," she noted according to WLKY. "They stood on the verbal message, the lip service of zero tolerance, but they did not deliver." The GoFundMe page, which was set up to gather money for the boy's funeral and raise awareness regarding school bullying read, "For the past 5-6 months, Tami has been in constant dialog with his school Kerrick Elementary as well as The Jefferson County School Board about issues surrounding her son being bullied. His death is an example of what can happen when we choose not to take the issue of Bullying seriously."
Cover image source: GoFundMe