by: Torie Wells Updated:
STANLY COUNTY, N.C. - A Stanly County mother who said her 12-year-old son tried to take his own life is speaking out.
She said he is out of the hospital now and receiving help, but said that what happened to her family is happening everywhere. She wants to bring more awareness to the problem.
Rebecca Hughes said her son always seemed happy. That's why she was shocked when he tried to take his own life.
"He had shot himself in the head with a pellet rifle," said Hughes. "'Is my baby going to live?' That was my first thought."
Hughes said that doctors had to remove pellet fragments from her son’s skull that were bruising his brain. She said that he told her he was being bullied at Albemarle Middle School and on the bus.
"Many victims of bullying suffer from anxiety, depression, have suicidal thoughts," said Dr. Jessica Bloomfield, from Southeast Psych in Southpark.
Bloomfield is not working with Hughes' son. But she said she has worked with children this young who have taken similar action.
"Kids are dealing with this in elementary school," she said.
Bloomfield said bullying can start in kindergarten and typically peaks in middle school. Children often won't tell adults, but sometimes there are signs.
"Look for changes in behavior, changes in academic performance, grades are slipping," said Bloomfield.
She said a child not sleeping or not wanting to go to school or where the bullying is happening could also be signs.
Hughes said her son thinks adults at school saw the bullying, but no one intervened. But she said he also didn't tell anyone.
Eyewitness News did reach out to the school but was told the district cannot comment on any individual student. The district did say that there are anti-bullying programs in place. In fact, it's part of the curriculum.
The district also said that the middle and elementary schools in Stanly County have already had assemblies on bullying this year. Some also have boxes for anonymous reporting, and staff development includes training to identify bullying.
"I want the bullying to stop," said Hughes.
Hughes said she doesn't want anyone to get in trouble. She just wants her son's story to be a wake-up call for parents and teachers.
"Our children are our future, and what future are we going to have if half of them aren't here?" Hughes said.
Eyewitness News did reach out to the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office and was told that there are no charges in this case.
For more information on bullying prevention, visit pacer.org/bullying.