Philadelphia, PA — Phillip Spruill, an 11-year old boy from Philadelphia, committed suicide apparently after being bullied repeatedly for months by his classmates. The fifth grader, who was targeted by bullies because of his weight, was even the one labeled a “troublemaker” in school even though he was only defending himself from the real bullies!
“He was a very sensitive little boy. He loved to laugh. He loved to play. He wanted to make friends with everybody he saw. He was a very kind little boy,” Phillip’s grandmother, Linda Lash-Smith, said in an interview on Sirius XM’s The Clay Cane Show.
Lash-Smith added that while her grandson, who goes to Benjamin B. Comegys Elementary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wouldn’t show the other kids that he is bothered by the hurtful comments, he often came home crying to her and his parents because of it.
Phillip’s 7-year old younger brother was also bullied. Lash-Smith said other kids were “calling him gay because he likes to dance and twirl around. They would make hurtful comments on the school bus and school saying, ‘Here comes fatty and faggot.’”
The boy’s family tried to talk to the school officials to stop the bullying. However, Phillip himself has been suspended 15 times between September and March because he was apparently interacting in fights. He was labeled a “troublemaker” although he wasn’t the one starting the fight. He only had to defend himself and his brother, his grandmother said.
Phillip, who struggled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also developed anxiety and depression due to the harassment at school.
Last April 5 was probably Phillip’s last straw when he tried to ask help from the support staff at school but he was allegedly ignored. He was told to wait as the staff was dealing with someone else. But he was afraid the school bus would leave him and he didn’t want his younger brother to be on the bus alone.
After returning home that day, Phillip took his own life. His younger brother was heartbroken and said, “My protector is gone.”
Meanwhile, School District spokesperson Lee Whack said the district and the Comegys school are deeply saddened by this tragedy. He said in a statement, “We always take reports of bullying seriously. There were no founded instances of this child being bullied.”
His family has set up a GoFundMe page where online donations can be made.