CHICAGO — The family of a teenage boy who tried to hang himself after being bullied at school is now asking the community for help with his funeral expenses.
Jamari Dent died of a brain injury last week, nearly two years after a failed suicide attempt. His family was by his side throughout the entire ordeal and they say they want Chicago Public Schools to take bullying more seriously.
“My son is gone,” said Dent’s mother, Tierra Black. “Thirteen years. He didn’t have nothing. His first kiss, didn’t walk across the stage for eighth-grade graduation. Nothing.”
Dent was a special needs student at CPS when he tried to hang himself in 2019. He passed away Thursday after suffering brain damage caused by a suicide attempt in 2019 that left him unable to walk, talk or breathe on his own.
“I feel like my son was indirectly murdered,” Black said.
Injuries sustained from Dent’s suicide attempt left him deaf and blind. He lived on a ventilator despite having some neurological function. His family says he was essentially trapped inside his body until last week, when he passed away.
“I just miss him so much and miss spending time with him,” said Dent’s sister Jada Bryant.
Dent’s suicide attempt left him ineligible for insurance, so his mother has paid for his medical care out of pocket. She is now asking for support to help with his funeral expenses.
“These are the times when the community are needed most,” said activist Early Walker.
Dent attended Carter Woodson Elementary. His family has now sued Chicago Public Schools in federal court for wrongful death.
“This child didn’t deserve this,” Walker said.
The family says that Dent was picked on by teachers and students who called the special needs teenager “stupid and dumb.”
Eventually, he had enough.
“I definitely want this to be a lesson to all of the students,” Walker said. “Kids bullying is not the answer. This is what could happen.”
In a statement last week, CPS said it was saddened to learn of his passing. Anyone interested in contributing to the family’s funeral expenses may click here.
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