KERENS — Located about an hour south of Dallas, the small town of Kerens is mourning the loss of a 14-year-old boy whose family says took his own life after years of being bullied.
"He was a good kid," said John Riley, Reed's father, while at his Fort Worth home. "He didn’t deserve what he got."
The Kerens ISD student killed himself on May 6. Now, his father wants to tell his story as they urge the school's administration to do more to stop bullying on campus.
“I don’t want him to die in vain," his father said. "I believe he died for a purpose … He hated the fact that people were picked on in an environment where they are supposed to be safe. Was he safe? I believe in my eyes no."
His death rippled through the small town just west of Corsicana. The entire district has less than 700 students.
Riley knew his son suffered at school but says didn’t know the extent. Now, he wants to know why the school didn’t do more to stop it and wants to know why the administration wasn’t more involved.
Chief C. Wilhelm, with the Kerens ISD Police, said the boy’s death prompted many internal reviews of the district's anti-bullying policy. He said his department is actively investigating the circumstances that led to the teenager’s death.
Some of this stuff is just revealing itself to me," he said. "I can’t help if I don’t know. I have some concerns from a law enforcement standpoint."
It's an issue that Riley is glad the district is addressing. But, for his son, it’s too late.
"I know in my heart this could have been avoided and it wasn’t," he said.
Click here to read a statement issued by the district pertaining to the student's death this week.