An Akron-area 13-year-old took his own life Feb. 23, after relentless bullying and rumors that he was gay.
Nicholas Kelo Jr., a Rittman High School freshman, gave up football to play tenor sax in the high school band. Classmates then assumed Kelo must be gay if he preferred band to football, escalating the continued taunting.
The mother of another RHS student, whose son is also a victim of bullying, recalls a teammate spitting on Kelo during a school bus ride home after a football game.
Kelo’s mother was aware of the bullying and had even visited the school twice this year to address the problem with administrators. Other parents of RHS students have come forward after Kelo’s suicide complaining of similar issues.
A fund has been established in Kelo’s honor to help with character education in the district, and all grade levels will have anti-bullying programs built into the curriculum.
This isn’t the only story like this to come out of Northeast Ohio this school year. Students chanted “powder blue faggots” at a Cleveland-area high school football game between rivals Eastlake North High School and Willoughby South High School to taunt the opposing team. Nearby Mentor High School is embroiled in legal trouble after parents of four bullied students, who committed suicide over a two year period, sued the district for not stopping the harassment.