An Ohio sixth-grader has taken his own life after his parents say the school refused to intervene when he was being bullied.
Aaron Fuller, 13, was found with a belt around his neck in his bedroom in the Northwood neighborhood of Toledo on January 11, his family said.
School bullies had told him to kill himself online, his father, Steven Fuller, told the Toledo Blade.
‘[The bullying] has to stop. People have to learn,’ Steven said.
‘These kids aren’t just getting bullied, but they know if they go say something to a teacher or someone else, they’re the next one who is going to get picked on or beat up.’
Ohio sixth-grader Aaron Fuller, 13 (pictured), has taken his own life after his parents say the Lake School District in Toledo refused to intervene when he was being bullied on social media
Steven said he’s still in disbelief over losing his youngest son, Aaron, who loved music, drawing, swimming, and playing video games.
‘Every night when I go upstairs, his room is right across from ours, and I look in there and I still can’t believe it, I still say goodnight to him and tell him that I love him,’ Steven said.
‘I can’t say it hasn’t sunk in that he’s gone, but I don’t want to believe it. I just can’t believe it right now.’
The teen had a passion for animals, sharing his home with his bunny “Bob” and his dogs, his obituary read.
‘Aaron spent time with his Grandma Kathy and grew a love for antiquing. Most of his time was spent outdoors enjoying dirt bikes and four-wheelers with his Brother Joseph.
‘Mom loved to call him her pumpkin and they enjoyed shopping trips together. He grew a love for cooking with his Step-Mom and learning how to plow with Dad. He visited Milan Drag Way with his Step-Dad catching T-Shirts during the races.’
School bullies had told Aaron (right) to kill himself online, his father, Steven Fuller (left) said
Steven said that Aaron (pictured) had been repeatedly bullied at Lake Middle School, and used to defend himself, but that classmates said recently he had stopped sticking up for himself while he was attacked and teased over things like forgetting money and not packing a lunch, and the clothes that he wore
On the night Aaron died, Steven and Aaron’s stepmother, Tami, had left him home alone with his older brother, Joseph, for about 45 minutes while they went to pick up dinner, they said.
When they returned, the found him dead. Joseph, 15, is the one who found him, after going upstairs to get him when Aaron didn’t come downstairs when he was called to come eat.
‘The first words out of [Joseph’s] mouth were, “Aaron, no, what did you do? I can’t do this without you,”‘ Steven said.
‘There’s nothing I won’t miss about him… from having to yell at him to being able to hug him, just seeing him sit across the table, smiling.’
Tami, who is a nurse, and Steven said they performed CPR on Aaron, together, for about 30 minutes until emergency responders arrived, but Aaron was already gone.
Steven said that Aaron had been repeatedly bullied at Lake Middle School, and used to defend himself, but that classmates said recently he had stopped sticking up for himself.
Instead, Aaron had taken to sitting quietly in the cafeteria while he was attacked, and teased over things like forgetting money and not packing a lunch, and the clothes that he wore, his family said.
Eventually, Steven said, Aaron would storm out of the lunchroom to avoid the abuse.
Just hours before his death, Steven had grounded Aaron for taking $135 that was supposed to have been used to pay for a school camping trip to deposit money on his school lunch account.
Once the bullying escalated to social media comments urging Aaron to kill himself, Steven went to the school.
According to the Fullers, the school district told them there was nothing that could be done because Aaron had participated in the online exchange.
Once the bullying escalated to social media comments urging Aaron to kill himself, Steven went to the school. According to the Steve (right) and his wife Tami (left), who was Aaron’s stepmom, the school district told them there was nothing that could be done because Aaron had participated in the online exchange
It’s not clear when the online bullying escalated, but Steven said in September, he found Aaron lying in a pool of his own vomit after drinking a bottle of rum that Steven and Tami had received as a wedding gift, four years prior. Steven said his son told him he wasn’t trying to kill himself, but that he did it to make the bullying and pain stop
Lake Local Schools superintendent Jim Witt emailed a statement to the Toledo Blade, which read: ‘Our school family is heartbroken over the death of our student, Aaron Fuller. Our prayers go out to Aaron’s family and friends during this most difficult time. All of us who knew Aaron are grieving and will miss him very much. At this time, due to an ongoing police investigation and potential litigation, the district will have no further comments regarding this matter.’
Witt added in a phone interview: ‘We continue to grieve with the family. We are praying for them, and we hope that they are able to find some peace and solace.’
It’s not clear when the online bullying escalated, but Steven said in September, he found Aaron lying in a pool of his own vomit after drinking a bottle of rum that Steven and Tami had received as a wedding gift, four years prior.
Steven said his son told him he wasn’t trying to kill himself, but that he did it to make the bullying and pain stop.
That’s when he started seeing a counselor, and things seemed to be improving, but apparently that wasn’t entirely true.
Now, the family is dealing with the lasting impacts of a life gone, too soon. Joseph has been pulled out of school, with Steven homeschooling him for now.
The father said the boy swere best friends, and he’s worried for his older son.
‘That’s something that’s going to be with [Joseph] for the rest of his life,’ Steven said.’The bully didn’t only do this to Aaron, it’s affecting our whole family.’
Steven also has an older daughter, Sarah, age 19, who he’s said he’s concerned for. As for Aaron’s mother, Cris Fuller, Steven said she has been so deeply devastated by the lose of their son that she’s not able to drive.
The Fullers said they hope sharing this story can shine light on the issue of bullying, and prevent a similar tragedy for other families.
‘If your kid’s being bullied, stay on them. Stay on the school, just stay on it,’ Aaron’s stepmother, Tami, said.
Steven added: ‘Don’t assume you know everything that’s going on, because you don’t.’
For confidential support in the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here.
For confidential support on suicide matters in the UK, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here.
For confidential support in Australia, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or click here.