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MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – Parents at McKinney Boyd High School rallied against bullying on Thursday after a student committed suicide last week. The peaceful demonstration started at 9:00 a.m. outside of the campus and, at its peak, included hundreds of supporters.
This all happened after the family of Raymond Howell Jr. revealed that the boy had been bullied for weeks by his peers, before he finally committed suicide last week. That tragedy has led to an outpouring of support from the community for the Howell family.
It has also served as a call to action, to raise more awareness about the problem of bullying.
“This isn’t just a one-time thing,” stated mother Joy Anderson on Thursday. “I think that McKinney needs to know that we’re not going away. We want stricter policies and order, and we want our children to be safe. We want it talked about more frequently in our schools.”
A spokesperson for the McKinney Independent School District said in a statement that it supports Thursday’s rally and another one scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Friday.
The statement insisted that the district is adamantly opposed to bullying, but that Howell’s case was not apparent. “The district has investigated this matter extensively including interviews with counselors, staff and students. While we have not identified any reports of bullying preceding this loss, we will continue to work diligently in search of information or signs that could have helped to prevent such a tragedy.”
The investigation into Howell’s death revealed that a friend gave him a gun to reportedly protect himself and his family from bullying. That friend has been arrested, but parents want to see more accountability from school officials.