Lake Fenton's anti-Bullying group, The Starfish Initiative, will host a walk to call attention to bullying and to honor the memory of teenager Josh Pacheco, who committed suicide last week.
The walk is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, starting at Fenton AGS Middle School, 3255 Donaldson Drive. Participants are asked to arrive at 2:30. The walk will continue from AGS Middle School to Bush Park in Fenton.
Pacheco, 17, a junior at Linden High School who lived in Fenton, committed suicide Nov. 27. His parents believe bullying is to blame, according to the Flint Journal. Pacheco also was gay, which led to him being bullied both inside and outside of school, said his mother in the article.
“My son was very funny and exceptionally sensitive and loving to other people’s feelings,” Pacheco’s mother, Lynnette Capehart, told the Flint Journal.
Pacheco’s family said that he suffered from low self-esteem, according to the Tri-County Times. This low self-esteem, they said, coupled with Pacheco’s problems at school led him to suicide, the article stated.
“He told me he felt like he wasn’t good enough. He said if he lost weight he would be happy,” Capehart told the Tri-County Times. “But he wasn’t. Then he said if he came out [as a homosexual], he would be happy. Then it was if the kids at school stopped teasing him. He came to me and said he still didn’t feel happy. I realized then it wasn’t something, being a mom, that I could fix.”
Linden superintendent Ed Koledo said just because there were no reports of Pacheco being bullied doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and discussions are underway to bring in speakers to address bullying and suicide at the school, according to WHMI. The district also stepped up implementation of a bullying hotline following Pacheco’s death, the article stated. The Eagle Hotline offers a tool for students to text incidents of bullying they may have witnessed or experienced to 810-373-2131.
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