Ronin Shimizu, a 12-year-old boy from Folsom, California, committed suicide this past Wednesday afternoon. According to the Daily Mail, Shimizu took his life after his classmates bullied him for being a cheerleader. The police are currently not releasing any other details concerning his death.
According to News 10, Ronin had been bullied for many years throughout elementary school and middle school. Last year, Ronin was in sixth grade at Folsom Middle School. The bullying got to be so bad that Ronin's parents recently chose to have him taken out of school and be homeschooled instead.
Ronin was the only male cheerleader in his school's cheerleading team, and was taunted and accused of being gay because of it. This past Thursday night, friends and family gathered at a candle light vigil to express their grief and shock.
Mia Kleinbardt, and 11-year-old classmate, stated, "'Bullying him because of cheerleading... it's not right...It's what he loves to do." Hunter Reed, a friend from drama club, said, "He was always so passionate like he didn't care what a lot of people said... He just kept going on with life. He was always so happy, like the happiest person I've ever met."
Clinical child psychologist Dr. Andrew Mendonsa explained that there has been a recent increase in suicides of young people and children. He stated, "Unfortunately, what people don't realize is that the younger you are, you don't have a reference point that adults do: 'Things get better. That's just a bump in the road. Trust me, life will get better.' We have that as adults. As children, you don't have that."
Mendonsa went on to explain that the prevalence of social media and cyber bullying these days also makes things worse - he added, "Because once it gets out there, it can be re-tweeted, re-Facebooked, re-posted numerous times, almost exponentially...One person becomes 10, becomes 10,000."
The Folsom Cordova School District has recently released a statement reading, "Any allegations bullying related to this specific incident, we're certainly reviewing how we responded to those and we'll use that as an opportunity to always take a look at how we respond to future allegation."