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Speaking with local Houston outlet KTRK earlier this week, Crystal Smith said she was "still in disbelief" over the death of her son, Robinson Elementary School fifth grader Kevin Reese Jr. According to Smith, her "little goof troop" was the target of "relentless" bullying at school. At one point, fellow students are alleged to have urged Reese to take his own life.
"I just thought he was handling the situations," she said. "They wrote on his tablet to kill yourself, 'You don't belong here.' When it got physical back in November, he came home crying because he didn't fight back and one of the boys punched him several times coming from recess."
Smith said she was told by school officials following her son's death that they "never found any bullying going on," though records cited in the KTRK report show that Smith had reported the November incident.
On the afternoon of January 21, Reese's 13-year-old sister found him inside a closet in the family's home near Houston, having hanged himself. At the time, Smith was out of town and the children's stepfather was on his way to the residence. The sister called Smith at work, at which point she was advised to cut him down and call 911.
Now, Smith is asking other parents to be communicative with their children and school officials.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, please notify someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.