FOLSOM (CBS13) — A former Folsom student who says he was the victim of bullying says the suicide of a seventh-grader should be a wakeup call to the district.
Lance Chih says he sued the Folsom Cordova Unified School District and settled after he was bullied to the brink of suicide.
He’s speaking out after the death of 12-year-old Ronin Shimizu on Wednesday. The seventh-grader took his own life after friends and family say he was the victim of bullying as the only male cheerleader of the Vista Junior Eagles Cheer Team.
“It’s always tragic when someone is pushed to that point,” Chih said. “I think we all play a role in creating a positive school climate.”
District spokesman Daniel Thigpin says school administrators are reaching out to students and their families after Shimizu’s suicide.
“Absolutely no one needs to be bullied for any reason,” he said.
The district confirms it received a number of complaints from the boy’s parents, saying kids were bullying him for being on the cheer team. It is taking to social media t respond to community questions and concerns.
“I think the most important step right now in the wake of the tragedy is to get community feedback on their experiences, the experiences of their students and what they would like to see from us moving forward,” Thigpin said.
Chih graduated from Folsom High in 2006, and says he attempted suicide after being bullied for being gay.
“For myself it took over a year and a half that they acknowledge that received any of my complaint,” he said. “Unfortunately it’s a little too late because they’ve already lost the life of a student.”
Thigpin says anti-bullying efforts are the district’s top priority.
“We’re taking a stand. We’ve always taken a stand against bullying,” he said.