A grieving family from Wendell, North Carolina have spoken out after their beloved 13-year-old boy died by suicide.
According to reports, Austin Pendergrass was an eighth-grade student at Wendell Middle School.
The boy’s aunt, Jessica Harris, said that he had been bullied before taking his own life.
“Austin was an amazing little boy,” Jessica said. “He loved turtles.
“He was also very helpful. He would always want to pitch in and help out with doing anything. He liked to bake with his mom and siblings.”
Wednesday night, a memorial ceremony was held for Austin in Knightdale, N.C., one where balloons were released to honor his life. Those in attendance wore red and white, the 13-year-old’s favorite colors.
Austin’s mom, Jessica Pendergrass, said: “I just wish Austin knew all these people were here to support [him].
“I just wish he didn’t feel so alone.”
As per reports, Austin lived part-time with his mother and part-time with his father.
His aunt told reporters that he had been struggling at school over the past year, in no small part due to bullying.
“Last year, he struggled a lot,” Jessica Harris said.
“And, I think that came from some kids bullying him … from a kid bullying him from what I’ve been told.”
His grieving mom added: “It’s so sad. But I hope, I really hope, that this can bring some awareness to other parents, to check on their kids, be mean, go through their social media, go through their phones, find out what’s going on. Teach their kids to be kind to other kids, even if they’re different. And just make sure that we listen to our kids, and know what’s going on. And just hug your kids a little tighter.”
Earlier this week on Tuesday, the Wake County Board of Education addressed the tragic event during a meeting.
“The town of Wendell will surround the school with nothing but love and support,” said District 1 School Board Member Heather Scott.
“We will forever cherish all the memories, but unfortunately, nothing is going to bring our baby back,” Austin’s aunt said.
Unfortunately, bullying is a blight that continues to be rampant in all walks of society. Though it’s all too common among adults, it’s perhaps even more dangerous where children are concerned.
Parents, please be vigilant as to your children’s behavioral patterns, both inside and outside the home.
Join us in sending prayers and love to the family of Austin Pendergrass.
Please, share this article in memory of a little boy whose life was cut short too soon.