Funeral held for Illinois teen who committed suicide after bullying
A 15-year-old Illinois boy who killed himself after repeated bullying was buried Sunday, his father said.
Jordan Lewis -- who loved football and the Chicago Bears -- was memorialized in a Bears-themed service in Marion, about two hours southeast of St. Louis in southern Illinois. His father, Brad Lewis, wore a Chicago Bears tie, and bouquets of orange and blue flowers adorned the funeral home.
“We tried to keep things close to what he liked,” Lewis said in a telephone interview.
Jordan, a sophomore at Carterville High School, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday. In his suicide note, he blamed bullying, his father said.
Authorities are investigating allegations of bullying as part of a wider investigation into Jordan’s death, according to a statement released to the Los Angeles Times.
His death took place days after two Florida girls were arrested for bullying a girl who then killed herself, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, 12.
Jordan’s death gained national attention after his father posted a series of videos online in which he explains the circumstances surrounding his son’s death and decries the rash of youth suicides sparked by bullying.
“This bullying has to stop. People have to stop treating other people the way they do,” Lewis says, fighting back tears, in a video recorded hours after learning his son had killed himself.
“Because some people just don’t have the strength to overcome the humiliation, the continuation of being picked on constantly every day to the point that they have no out,” he said.
During Sunday’s memorial, the Rev. Brent Fitzgerald told the 400 to 500 people gathered that parents and children need to interact more and that the community should seek forgiveness to forge a better future, Lewis said.
Jordan was buried near his late grandfather, Lewis said.
Lewis urged parents become more involved with their children, especially if they observe a change in their behavior.
“Don’t turn a blind eye,” Lewis said. “There’s more going on than what people think.”
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