Queer Voices

Josh Pacheco, Gay Michigan Teen, Committed Suicide After Intense Bullying, Say Parents

Parents of a gay Michigan teen who committed suicide last month say bullying is to blame for their son's death.

Seventeen-year-old Josh Pacheco of Fenton came out to his mother just two months ago, and was frequently bullied both inside and outside of school prior to his death on Nov. 27, The Flint Journal/MLive is reporting.

"My son was very funny and exceptionally sensitive and loving to other people’s feelings,” Pacheco’s mother, Lynnette Capehart, told the publication. "He was having problems with bullying. He didn’t really want to tell us very much...it was very disheartening to me.”

josh pacheco suicide

As MLive pointed out in a second article, Pacheco's suicide was the second such case in Michigan's Genesee County. In January, Flushing teen Jarrod Nickell also committed suicide after experiencing bullying in school, according to his parents.

Capehart also noted that school officials never notified her about the problems her son was facing in school. Meanwhile, the superintendent at Linden High School, where Pacheco was a junior, says no bullying had ever been reported to faculty members. “We weren’t aware of any specifics. There’s been a lot of stories that have turned up over the weekend that we are looking into,” Ed Koledo is quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, a Dec. 5 vigil is reportedly being held in Pacheco's memory. Click here for more information.

The case follows news that a Michigan-based performing arts teacher was suspended for playing a pro-marriage equality song to her students in class. Though her suspension has since been reversed following some very public outcry, teacher Susan Johnson has since said, "It's been really difficult to go to work every morning and have this hanging over me, this anxiety."

Tyler Clementi

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