A 16-year-old Tennesee boy died by suicide after he was outed for being bisexual on social media, his family claims.
Channing Smith, a student at Coffee County High School, fatally shot himself on Sept. 22 after classmates exposed screenshots online of him confiding in a pal about his sexuality, news station WZTV reported.
His brother said the friend and a female classmate shared the screenshots of the conversation on Instagram and Snapchat.
“They did it to just completely humiliate and embarrass my brother,” Channing’s brother, Joshua Smith, told the outlet.
“Being in a small, rural town in the middle of Tennessee, you can imagine being the laughing stock and having to go to school Monday morning.”
He said that Channing called the girl who posted the screenshots and told her that he was going to commit suicide.
But the girl didn’t tell anyone about the teen’s plans — and he took his own life within hours of the bullying incident.
“He couldn’t face the humiliation that was waiting on him when he got to school on Monday, so he shot and killed himself,” Joshua told the outlet.
The family is now putting pressure on the Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott to file charges against the teen’s bullies.
“I was told by the lead investigator in Coffee County that he was pushing to have the kids charged criminally and the District Attorney’s office has decided that they did not want to pursue it,” Joshua said.
But the district attorney said his office is still investigating the events surrounding the teen’s death.
“My office has encouraged, cooperated in and supported the investigation into the events leading to this death,” Northcott told news station WTVF.
“Ethically, I am prohibited from commenting on an open investigation or prosecution. However, procedurally, no charging decisions have been made by my office nor has the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department asked for a decision since the investigation has not been completed.”
Author: Jackie Salo