A depressed 16-year-old boy with Asperger's syndrome committed suicide because he was bullied at his Chino Hills high school, leaving behind an anguished suicide note saying verbal abuse drove him to take his own life, his parents said.
Kennedy LeRoy, whose goal in life was to help others, killed himself in his bedroom last Friday, his parents said Wednesday. According to a two-page letter he left behind, depression was a factor and being bullied by a male student at Ayala High School was another.
"Maybe my death will make people realize that words can hurt as much as, if not more than, physical blows," the note said.
Kennedy's parents do not blame school officials for what happened.
"We just don't want any family to ever go through this," said Kennedy's father, Chris. "My wife and I felt very comfortable with how he was dealing with the depression and bullying and stuff like that. He would always confide in us."
The father says school officials immediately took action when they found out Kennedy was being bullied. They made the bully sign a "no contact contract" to protect Kennedy. But as Kennedy explained in his letter, the bully didn't stop harassing him.
Kennedy never told his parents about this.
"He assured us everything was going fine," the father says.
Kennedy's family is hoping his message will help prevent other suicides.
"I just want people to be more considerate about how the people they are bullying feel and how it can affect them," said Kennedy's brother, Kent.
The family remembers Kennedy for his compassion and desire to help others.
"We felt like a term he used was an 'Impact.' He could sense pain from other people and take it away," the father said. "He wants (the note) plastered out there. If he can save a life by bringing it to everyone’s attention, he will."
Asperger's syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, one of several complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by social impairment, communication difficulties, and restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, according to the National Institute of Heath.