by: Allison Latos Updated:
ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - A Rowan County family is on a mission to stop bullying after their 11-year-old son committed suicide last week.
They are hoping the tragedy will change the way students treat each other.
"Daniel was my son, my friend," said Scottie Safrit, Daniel's father. "I've got a hole in my heart. Nothing will ever fill it."
Safrit's grief is immeasurable.
"I go through this roller coaster of emotions all day," Safrit said. "Sadness and hurt, loss to anger."
The parents said their son was a loving boy with a huge heart but they said his life changed this fall at Erwin Middle School in Salisbury when Daniel complained about bullying, especially name-calling.
"He (saw) himself as an ugly person and not a loved person," his mother Jamie Safrit said. "He even made the comment, 'I'm a loser.'"
The Safrits said they went to school officials for help and the school changed Daniel's class schedule but the bullying didn't stop.
"When the school can sit there and tell me, 'We can't protect every child,' we've got a problem," Scottie Safrit said.
Last month, Scottie Safrit made a discovery.
"I found journals he had been writing in where he was talking about suicide," he said.
The family sought professional help but on the morning of Sept. 27., Daniel's mother found her son's body.
He had committed suicide.
Now they are calling for change and awareness. A mission stated on their T-shirts to stop bullying not only at Erwin Middle School but every school.
"If Daniel's dying gets changes made and it saves the next child, it's been worthwhile what we're going through," Scottie Safrit said.
For more local resources on anti-bullying, visit WSOCTV.COM’s special section “Stand up to bullying.”