Chicago mother says son attempted to take his own life after persistent bullying

Posted at 10:31 AM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 10:31:46-05

CHICAGO — An 11-year-old boy is on life support after attempting suicide. His mother said he was bullied at his Chicago Public School, and authorities allegedly did nothing to help, the family told WGN.

Jamari Dent is a student at Carter G Woodson Middle School. According to his family, Jamari attempted to take his own life Monday.  His younger sister found him and yelled for their mother, Tianna Black.

“I ran to his room and he was on his knees with sheet wrapped around his neck and gone already,” Black said.

Black said she performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

She said her son, who has a learning disability, was the victim of bulling from both students and teachers.  She said her son was called “stupid, dumb and retarded.”

Black said the bullying went on for more than a year, and despite going to Woodson principal Tamara Littlejohn, nothing changed.

“My son told me he wished he died four months ago,” Black said. “He’s tired of the teachers messing with him.”

Black met with the school administration Friday.

In statement CPS said:

This is a horrible tragedy, and the thoughts and prayers of the Chicago Public Schools community are with Jamari and his loved ones. The allegations that have been made are highly concerning, and the district is conducting a full investigation.

Community activist Ja’Mal Green is helping the family and was with them Friday.

“We conditionally have to get to the point where families have to suffer for something to be done,” he said. “Jamari is on life support for extensive brain damage because he tried to attempt suicide.  Jamari was jumped by several students in a gym room a month ago.  (He) was bullied and taunted by teachers as well as students.”

Another mother of a Woodson student said she has complained about bullying at the school.

After meeting with the school, Black said her children will be transferred to a new school.

“If they would have nipped this in the bud when I came up here it wouldn’t have gotten this far,” Black said.

If you or someone you know is struggling, there is help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is answering calls 24-7, with free and confidential support for those in distress. The number is 1-800-273-8255.  The lifeline can also connect you with resources for loved ones and best practices for professionals.