Jaheem Herrera

A vigil was held on Tuesday to commemorate the life of eleven year old Jaheem Herrera in the US. The fifth grader was found hanging from a fabric belt last week by his distraught ten year old sister, Yerralis.

Herrera and his family moved to DeKalb, Georgia, last year. The bullying apparently started a month after Herrera began attending Dunaire Elementary School.

His mother, Masika Bermudez, was aware that her son was a target of bullying, but didn’t know how bad the situation was. “That was my firstborn, and now he’s gone,” she said at the vigil. “No one’s going to replace him.”

According to his stepfather, “they called him gay and a snitch.” Bermudez also claimed to have complained to the school several times about the bullying, including an incident where it was alleged that Jaheem was choked in the boy’s bathroom.

“He used to say Mom they keep telling me this … this gay word, this gay, gay, gay. I’m tired of hearing it, they’re telling me the same thing over and over,” Jaheem’s mother told CNN.

The family has hired an attorney to address the allegedly inadequate response from school officials, who insist that they have taken the necessary steps to rid the school of bullying by including the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” program, which integrates anti-bullying and anti-harassment lessons into the curriculum.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, however, other parents have now come forward claiming that their children suffered similar bullying.

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