ZEBULON: Outpouring of support for bullied 11-year-old - WNCN: News, Weather

Outpouring of support for bullied Zebulon 11-year-old who attempted suicide

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ZEBULON, N.C. -

An 11 year old in Zebulon is in the hospital after his parents say constant bullying caused him to try to take his own life.

He is unresponsive but he is making small improvements each day.

Michael Morones is a sixth-grader at Zebulon Middle School.

His parents, Tiffany Morones-Suttle and Shannon Suttle, were able to stop the attempt in time to rush Michael to the hospital but say he has suffered severe brain damage.

With a smile only outshined by his personality, his parents say Michael is ball of energy.

"He is just amazing, full of energy, full of life. He can't walk to save his life he as to dance," joked Shannon.

Michael's stepfather says his son loves the show "My Little Pony."  He also says Michael has ADHD and could easily relate to the high-energy characters. 

"They just taught a lot of morals and values and different ways to handle negative situations and fix things in your life," explained Tiffany.

Michael considered himself a "Brony," a term used for a growing group of boys and men who love the show.

Unfortunately, this made him a target for bullies.

"He believed so much in love and kindness and compassion but everyone has a breaking point," said Shannon.

Shannon says Michael would talk about being bullied but never showed any signs about how badly it affected him.

"It's sad that someone's self-worth is based on a something society has put gender specific roles on," said Shannon.

Tiffany says Michael would come home and say "I'm tired of people calling me gay and ugly, and stupid for liking my little pony."

They say he would talk about being bullied, but never showed any signs of how badly it was affecting him.

His parents say Michael tried to put an end to the torment he endured at school the only way he knew how.

He is currently in serious condition at WakeMed.

"He's opened his eyes a few times but my son's not there yet," explained Tiffany.

Michael's story has spread world-wide, bringing an outpouring of countless gifts, pictures, and words of support from other "bronies" and people who are just touched by his story.

The voice actors from My Little Pony even recorded personalized messages for Michael as their characters.

"Every message is all the same," said Shannon, "You are special you do matter and you are loved."

They want to use Michael's story to show others how detrimental bullying can be.

"We need mediators in our schools," said Shannon, "We need to stop the criminalization of bullies and we just want to do what we can to make those resources available so this doesn't happen to another child."

Experts say it's never too early to talk to your kids about the issue.

"Utilizing that case, say is there something going on in school but don't pressure them to talk about it do it maybe through playing games and being interactive with them," explained bullying councilor Brian Purnell with Journey Through Life, PLLC.

The Morones' story is just the latest tragedy caused by the growing problem of bullying.

Statistics show every seven seconds, a child is bullied and that 1 in 4 kids will have a plan to commit suicide before they graduate high school.

North Carolina does have laws against bullying:

 

These are other resources parents and students can use dealing with bullying:

http://www.stopbullyingnowfoundation.org

http://www.preventchildabusenc.org/

http://www.standforthesilent.org/

http://www.kidpower.org/

You can donate to Michael's Recovery Fund here.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.

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