The mother of Nigel Shelby asked that her son be remembered as more than a bullied kid who took his own life.
Camika Shelby spoke out about her son, the 15-year-old boy who died by suicide on 19 April after alleged homophobic bullying in his high school.
‘He was so much more than that.’
Bullied for being gay
Nigel, a freshman at Hunstville High School, struggled with depression, according to his mother. He told Shelby that bullies targeted him for his sexuality.
However, his experience with his mother was a lot different. Shelby said when he came out to her two years earlier, she told him she would never ‘turn his back on him’.
Shelby continued: ‘I just grabbed him and hugged him and told him I already knew.
‘I told him I would never turn my back on him. I always told him, “Whatever you want in life, you can have it.”‘.
She added: ‘We live in a world where now… well, it’s always been, everybody is different. So to make someone feel less than because they are different, it’s not OK.’
A spokesperson for Hunstville High School claims they received no bullying or harassment complaints prior to the death. However, they are investigating.
An Alabama police officer was suspended earlier this week (23 April) after writing an anti-gay post on an article about the teen.
Madison County Deputy Jeff Graves wrote on a post shared by a Hunstville TV Station.
If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please visit this list of global resources.