An Indiana family is heartbroken after their 13-year-old son committed suicide because he was being bullied at school. The family is hoping that new proposed legislation could help prevent other victimized children from taking their own lives.
At just 13 years old, Terry Badger III committed suicide on March 6.
Terry recorded a video to explain why he took his own life.
His mother, Robyn Badger, told WTHR, "His exact words were, 'They made fun of me every f***ing day and I hate my f***ing life. I’m going to kill myself.'"
His father, Terry Badger II, noted, "It wasn’t like him to cuss."
"We asked Terry every day, 'How's 'school?' He'd always say, 'Great, had fun.'" Robyn said. "That's all he would say. Really pay attention. You don't have a clue what's really going on in their head until it's too late."
The 7th grader said that he was repeatedly bullied by classmates at Covington Middle School. Classmates poked fun of Terry's weight, his haircut, his clothes, and his $150 pair of Nike Air Max shoes.
"He wore them to school one time and then put them in his closet because he said kids made fun of him and he would never wear them again," Terry recalled. "They asked him if he shopped at Goodwill."
"He said, 'Dad, I’m not going back to school. I’m not going to get made fun of anymore,'" Terry stated. “There was a kid that told him he was fat and he just needed to go shoot himself."
The father said he and his son recently starting lifting weights together and the young boy was starting to get chiseled.
The Badgers said they informed school officials last November about their son being bullied.
Brady Scott, superintendent of Covington Community School Corporation, told the IndyStar, "Regarding (the bullying allegations), we have responded to those allegations by launching an independent investigation into the situation at hand. At Covington Schools, any time an incident is reported by students, we investigate and follow up as our policy directs our staff should."
Scott added that the school community "continues to mourn and heal from this tragedy. Covington schools continue to provide support to both students and staff in need."
Terry was a promising baseball player, and there was talk that the 7th grader would be promoted to the varsity team in the spring. Terry dreamed of playing baseball at Purdue University and in the MLB with the St. Louis Cardinals. There are baseballs and wiffle balls adorning his gravesite.
"I'm still trying to wake up from a nightmare and I know it's not going to happen," the father said.
Terry Badger II is calling on the community to do something to prevent other children from committing suicide.
Badger said, "Do we want to keep experiencing this with kids? I mean, we don’t need to put any more kids in the ground."
The Badgers are optimistic that a proposed bill could help future victims of bullying.
House Bill 1483 would require schools to investigate accusations of bullying. The bill would mandate that schools inform the parents of victims of bullying. If the bullying is severe enough, the victim would be able to switch schools or have the bully transfer to another school.
Robyn said of the bill, "It needs to happen. No kid deserves this."
The proposed bill has already passed the House in the Indiana General Assembly.
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