A high school student took his own life after being relentlessly bullied over his sexuality, a support organisation for LGBTQ+ has claimed.
Nigel Shelby, who was a student at Huntsville High School in Huntsville, Alabama, died from suicide on April 19.
“Nigel took his life because he was bullied for being gay. There are no words that can be said to make sense of this devastating news,” Rocket City Pride, a Huntsville-based organisation for LGBTQ+ said in a statement.
Friends and family of the Year 9 student flooded social media with tributes in the wake of his death, with some pleading for better support for vulnerable teenagers.
“He was bullied, teach your children to do better,” one person wrote to Facebook.
Rocket City Pride collected donations at its Drag Brunch Sunday and Drag Queen Bingo events to help Shelby’s family pay for his funeral.
A candlelight vigil was also held in his honour, and a Go Fund Me page was established to provide financial aid to his family.
One woman who donated said she “couldn’t fathom” experiencing such a loss, and hoped more would be done to educate others to avoid similar tragedies.
“Bullying is awful, but it happens. I’m just praying for this family and that others are educated in ways to handle bullying before anything tragic occurs,” she wrote.
Nearly 700 others contributed to the fund, which had raised more than $38,000AUD by Tuesday evening (AEST), surpassing its $36,570AUD goal.
“My heart breaks for this young man and his family. None of this is ok. This is on behalf of myself, my husband and our children. Rest in peace young man,” another woman wrote.
Several others expressed their condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the family.
“We were saddened to learn this morning of the death of Nigel Shelby, one of our 9th grade students,” Shelby’s school principal Aaron King shared in a statement to Out Magazine.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” he said.
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