FOLSOM (CBS13) – A 12-year-old boy took his own life. And tonight, that boy’s family and friends, including the staff and students at Folsom Middle School, are searching for answers.
Those close to Ronin Shimizu say he could not take the bullying anymore.
The district confirms they did get a number of complaints from the parents of the boy. They say they followed protocol, but friends say it just wouldn’t stop. Shimizu had a bright smile, but apparently there was a lot of pain.
“He was a really great friend,” said a friend.
It was an unimaginable loss, as friends and family gathered around the Shimizu home Thursday night for a quiet candle light vigil.
Shimizu had previously attended Folsom Middle School, but was only recently being home schooled. He killed himself yesterday.
“I didn’t see why people would tease him because he was so nice,” said a fellow cheerleader.
Those who knew Shimizu say he was the only male cheerleader with the Vista Junior Eagles Cheer Team.
“I heard that people called him gay because he was a cheerleader,” said.
“It’s a shocking and saddening incident,” said.
Daniel Thigpen with the Folsom Cordova School District confirms Shimizu’s family did report he was being bullied on more than one occasion, and the incidents were handled.
“Any allegations bullying related to this specific incident, we’re certainly reviewing how we responded to those and we’ll use that as an opportunity to always take a look at how we respond to future allegations,” said Thigpen.
In the meantime, grief counselors were on hand today to help students and staff — no doubt a wake-up call for many.
“Hopefully if anything, in a positive way, it will educate people. Bullying…it can’t happen, especially with social media nowadays,” said Josh Meixner, a family friend.
In fact, according to the federal government, 28 percent of kids grades six through 12 have been bullied, while nearly a third of young people say they have bullied others.
Shimizu’s Friend: “You shouldn’t do that. If it was you, you wouldn’t like it.”
Derek Shore: “Did he really like to cheerlead?”
Folsom Cordova School District officials say they have a comprehensive anti-bullying campaign. In fact, a student I talked to said they went through the program in the last few weeks.