Jamari Dent, an 11-year old boy from Chicago, is still on life support after he attempted to take his own life in the past week. His mother claims it was brought on by repeated bullying by his classmates and teachers at his school. She also says that all of their complaints about it were ignored.
Teirra Black, his mother, said her son is suffering from a learning disability and enrolled at a special education class at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School. She said her son was constantly called names like “stupid, dumb, and retarded” by his classmates and own teacher for over a year.
Additionally, Black said there was an instance back in December where Jamari has been jumped in class causing bruises on his face. There was also a time his teacher grabbed him and scratched his arm. The incidents weren’t reported to her, she said.
Black said she spoke with the school principal, Tamara Littlejohn, but it seemed her complaint was ignored and the bullying still continued.
On February 18, Jamari was found unresponsive by his younger sister. Black said her son “was on his knees with a sheet wrapped around his neck.” She tried to perform CPR on her son until the paramedics arrived and brought him to the hospital.
“My son told me he wished he died four months ago,” Black told Fox 17. “He’s tired of the teachers messing with him.”
Despite that, officials never reached out to them until February 22 when community activists, such as Jedidiah Brown and Ja’Mal Green, demanded action.
“We conditionally have to get to the point where families have to suffer for something to be done,” Green said. “Jamari is on life support for extensive brain damage because he tried to attempt suicide.”
Chicago Public Schools expressed their concern on the issue. Spokesman Michael Passman said, “This is a horrible tragedy, and the thoughts and prayers of the Chicago Public Schools community are with Jamari and his loved ones. The allegations that have been made are highly concerning, and the district is conducting a full investigation.”
Black met with the school officials on that night. Though she is somehow pleased that an investigation is being conducted, she decided that she will transfer her children from the school.
“If they would have nipped this in the bud when I came up [to the school] it wouldn’t have gotten this far,” Black told WGN.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with Jamari’s medical expenses. It has so far raised over $4,000 donations.