ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Bullying at school leading to a death on the playground? It almost happened.

A young Orlando boy was found hanging at a playground near his home three weeks ago, resulting in the boy having to go on life support, according to WFTV in Orlando. Due to the child being a minor, the Orlando Police Department is unable to release any details surrounding the case, especially with the subject being a minor.

Orlando District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan told CBS Tampa that she was recently informed by the Orlando Police Department that the boy is doing better but he cannot remember all the details that led him to nearly taking his own life on the playground.

“He left a note and the note said that he wanted to tell some little girls that had been nice to him that he would see them in heaven and that he couldn’t live anymore because he had been so badly bullied at school,” Orlando District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan told WFTV.

Since the incident, parents in the Orlando area have stepped forward to discuss the much larger issue of bullying in a school or playground setting, creating a greater dialogue about the topic amid a near tragedy, Sheehan said. She added that a school board member had told her how the suicide attempt was just one of the area stories about how bullying affects children in a school or playground environment.

“I’ve heard from other parents who’ve had to take their kids out of school because they’ve been bullied and want to help,” Sheehan told CBS Tampa. “The larger thing here is talking about how bullying has affected their children.”

The Orlando situation adds to the growing emphasis for bully prevention nationwide. Last year, it was discovered between 10 to 13 percent of school-age children in the U.S., or about 4 million children, experience some kind of rejection amongst their peers, according to a Rush University Medical Center study published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. Some of the issues bullied children commonly face include reading nonverbal cues, understanding their social meaning, and coming up with options for resolving a social conflict. And as TIME reports, bullying has led to a spike in the number of young people who’ve taken their lives as a result of bullying during the last decade, this despite 47 states instituting anti-bullying legislation.

A message for Sgt. Vincent Ogburn, the public information officer for the Orlando Police Department, was not immediately returned.

“I’m happy the story ended up the way it did because the young man is OK,” Sheehan said. “The larger lesson in all of this is our words and actions can have a negative impact on people and we need be more kind.”


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