ORLANDO (CBSMiami) — The family of a young Florida boy, who took his own life because he was the victim of bullying, is heartbroken and spoke to the media for the first time.
Lamar Hawkins was only 14-years old when he committed suicide in the bathroom of his middle school on Wednesday, September 10th.
His parents said he was relentlessly bullied by his classmates, both physically and emotionally.
At a press conference Shaniqua and Lamar Hawkins shared a photo of their son. They said his nickname was “Shaq” because of his small size, but larger than life personality.
“His smile could light up a room and his laugh was contagious,” said Shaniqua Hawkins at Monday’s emotional news conference.
Even with his joyous personality, Hawkins’ parents believed his small frame is what made him a target for bullies and why he took his own life.
“They pushed him down stairs, knocked him out of his chair in the cafeteria, mocked him due to his size and repeatedly attacked him with an intent to emotionally harm him,” said Shaniqua.
The Hawkins’ said they went to Greenwood Lakes Middle School several times to discuss what their son was experiencing, but did not elaborate on the school’s position.
“The bullying persisted, I felt paralyzed by the inability to make the bullying stop at school,” said Shaniqua Hawkins. “I would watch him walk out the door of our home and knew there was a very good chance others would be cruel to him.
The Hawkins’ intend to find out what measures the school took to stop their son’s bullying.
“I believe he took his life at school to send a message to these bullies that they were to blame for his suffering,” said his mother.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office is investigating what led up to this. The sheriff’s office said the boy used a gun registered to his father to shoot himself in the school bathroom.
The family’s attorney Matt Morgan said the firearm was properly secured according to Florida law, but did not explain how or where the gun was stored.
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