MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of a White Station High School student who took his own life last week thinks their loved one was bullied, and they want to make sure he’s the last student to resort to suicide as a solution to the problem.
The family is working with the school and the district to make sure suicide as a solution stops now. They said this young life lost won’t be in vain.
“The way he left himself, the way he took his life said a lot,” the victim’s brother, Enrique Montiel Flores said.
The family of Fernando Montiel didn’t want to go too far into detail about last Wednesday’s grim discovery, but they believe he was pushed by bullies to cut his life short.
“We don’t understand what happened,” Montiel Flores said. “How did we miss it? How could we not have done something?”
Montiel Flores said his brother left a giant puzzle for the family to put together, and now that he’s gone, the pieces and clues are falling into place.
“Don’t let there be another Fernando,” Montiel Flores said. “We don’t want anyone else to go through the pain we are going through.”
The family doesn’t want to risk losing anyone else before the picture that bullying is a problem becomes clear.
“What are you going to do now that we lost the life of a kid; not just any kid, someone that had a future was very smart,” Montiel Flores said.
The family met with White Station High administrators and Shelby County Schools this week about where to go from here.
“We don’t want, ‘We are going to work on it,'” Montiel Flores said. “No, if you tell me you’re going to make changes, I’m gonna be here.”
As of right now, the district said they are working on developing a student tip hotline and an app for smartphones. The student’s grieving mother wants to see those promises through.
“It’s too late; late for me, late for my son,” Irene Rojas said.
The family vows to be there every step of the solution-making process.
The family plans to host a vigil at the school next Wednesday. They want students from all backgrounds who may be victims of bullying to come out and speak with them in hopes of getting those students the help and support they need in time.
They say right now, it’s about unity.
In the press release the school sent out Thursday, SCS expressed their condolences and explained that they plan on advancing suicide awareness and prevention programs.
SCS also sent the following contacts for students who may be going through tough situations with bullying.
- Shelby County Schools Mental Health Center: 901-416-8484
- Shelby County Schools Help Line: firstname.lastname@example.org, 901-416-5300
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- TBI School Violence Hotline: 1-800-824-3463
- TDMHSAS Helpline: 1-800-560-5767
- Call the Tennessee Statewide Crisis Line 24/7: 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471)