Community raises awareness about bullying after teen takes his own life

Posted at 11:06 PM, Oct 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-27 17:39:23-04

WYOMING, Mich. -- Friends, family and  other community members gathered Tuesday to raise awareness about bullying after 14-year-old, Brandon Larsen took his own life last week.

Posters filled with anti-bullying messages lit up by candlelight sat in the background as Larsen's family clung to each other.

The teenager, who was in the ninth grade at Wyoming Junior High, took his own life Oct. 13.  Larsen's grandmother, Wanda Hirst, said within hours of learning she'd lost her grandson she also learned he had been bullied for months.

"I'm thinking he kept it inside without anybody knowing what plans were in the future," Hirst said. "You hear of this, but I couldn't believe this was happening to our family."

From the family who's still coping with the tragedy, to the youth who's lost one of their own, they stood together while speaking out against bullying.

"For those of you who are bullying, quit being bullies," a student said. "People will end up either killing themselves--or--doing something."

Another student said about Larsen, "He seemed like a bright person and I know that it's not for kids to treat him the way he was treated."

Larsen's never-ending struggle is made evident through a letter he sent to a friend that reads, "I feel I? I don't know what to say to them or if I should shut up. What should I do? They told me to kill myself last week. Who would even miss me?"

For his family, it's his heart and fun-loving personality they said they'll miss the most. While they can't have the teenager back, his stepfather has a powerful message to anyone who may witness or be the victim of bullying.

"I don't care if you got to get ahold of me, his real dad, his grandmother, his mother, his uncle--I don't want to see none of you kids like this."

Larsen's funeral was Saturday. Family said they'll be holding a fundraiser on Oct. 25 to help cover the costs. They also set up a GoFundMe account.