12-Year-Old Boy Commits Suicide After Being Bullied For Being a Cheerleader

Tragic news out of Folsom, California today is the latest eye-opener to the fact that bullying is alive and well—and the repercussions can be devastating. News 10 reports on a 12-year-old boy who committed suicide after he faced bullying at school for being a cheerleader.

Last year, Ronin Shimizu was in sixth grade at Folsom Middle School and was the only boy on the Eagles cheer squad. Friends said he was bullied for being a cheerleader. The bullying got to be so bad, Ronin was taken out of school and had to be home-schooled. He was also being home schooled this year.

“He was bullied very badly,” Riley Coleman said as she teared up. The Folsom Middle School sixth grader was on the squad with Ronin last year. “It’s not ok to bully people,” she said through tears.

“So sad to know that people can hurt you that way,” student Allie Flahive said.

“I was devastated when I found out. I started crying,” Ronin’s friend Grace Velander said. “I’ve known him since 6th grade. Me and him had classes all last year together.”

“He was just a sweet child. For him to feel that hopeless is heart-breaking,” concerned parent Cynthia Brown said.

The Folsom Cordova Unified School District released the following message:

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this unspeakable tragedy, and our hearts go out to Ronin’s family during this difficult time. Many students, teachers and staff who knew Ronin remember him as a positive and outgoing child, and our school communities are truly grieving this loss today. We are moved by the outpouring of support from families and community members asking how they can help.”

For more on the story, go here. If you are a child who’s experiencing bullying, there are lots of organizations in Philadelphia who are willing to help. Start with The Attic Youth Center at 255 South 16th Street. Phone number: 215-545-4331.

Also, for confidential support if you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Learn about the warning signs of suicide at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.