The parents of 12-year-old Ronin Shimuzu say they tried desperately to get help for their son before he committed suicide last year following years of being bullied.
Now they can only hope a $1 million dollar settlement offer they’ve accepted from the Folsom Cordova Unified School District near Sacramento, CA will send a message to school districts nationwide.
The Sacramento Bee reports while not admitting any wrongdoing, the district has also set up an anti-bullying campaign that is being launched this school year.
The Shimizu family has founded an organization named for their son, Ronin’s Voice, which will provide support and assistance to the families of other bullied children and push school districts into providing safe environments for their students.
“We wish to thank the thousands of kind people who expressed their condolences, offered their personal support and interest in seeking reform against school bullying,” said Ronin’s parents, Brandon and Danielle Shimizu. “We also appreciate the assistance and support provided to us by the Florin Chapter of the Japanese Americans’ Citizens League.”
The Shimizus say their son has been bullied since the third grade both physically and psychologically. Students hurled homophobic slurs at him because he was a male cheerleader. Bullies pushed him out of the boy’s bathroom and forced him to use the girl’s room. They also shoved him into the mud.
His death attracted national attention and a social media campaign was launched in his honor.
You can read about that along with more details of the daily pressures Ronin faced in the Sacramento Bee.