HOUSTON – A 13-year-old boy who committed suicide last Thursday had problems at home, Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District said Friday as it released the preliminary findings of its investigation.
Asher Brown’s parents blame the school for their son’s death, saying that he shot himself in the head after being tormented by classmates.
Asher’s mother, Amy Truong, said her son recently realized that he was gay and that, along with his Buddhist religion, made him a target for bullies at Hamilton Junior High. Truong and her husband, David, said they tried to contact the school about the bullying, but said the school failed to respond.
However, school administrators said they never received any reports of bullying before Asher's suicide and on Friday, the district released a statement sharing details of his home and school life:
- Upon enrollment, his mother reported his personal history, which included post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Asher had established relationships and accessed both his sixth-and seventh-grade counselors.
- His recent academic progress report reflected all A's in his classes and his class conduct was excellent.
- Prior to Asher Brown's death, the parents made no contact with the school regarding concerns of bullying.
- Although the campus did not receive concerns from the family regarding bullying, his mother contacted his counselor approximately two weeks prior to his death requesting assistance from school staff members in monitoring Asher's behavior due to a significant emotional struggle within the family. Asher's counselor alerted all his teachers and assistant principal of their family's situation.
- The following week, an assistant principal followed up with Asher's mother by phone.
- District administrators have been unable to substantiate specific instances of alleged bullying of Asher; however, some student information indicates a perception that Asher was mistreated by classmates, but those concerns were not reported.
A spokesperson for the Asher’s family said Friday that there was no emotional struggle, and that Asher was upset about his older brother being hospitalized, but there is nothing more to it than that. The spokesperson said the brother had issues before and is now in a charter school.
Meanwhile, the Harris County District Attorney's Office announced Friday that it will investigate to see if anyone should be held accountable for Asher's suicide.
That could include students, school officials, even his parents, since the 13-year-old used his step father's gun to commit suicide.