Parents & Community Want to Raise Awareness About Bullying After Teen's Suicide

SEARCY, Ark.- A community is rallying in support of a family who recently lost their son to suicide. 

The parents of 14 year old Jesse James are now speaking about the teen's tragic end in hopes of preventing other families from having to go through the same loss.

"That's the worst feeling ever," says Jeremy James, Jesse's dad, recalling the moment he realized his son had taken his own life.

"He was just so funny, loving and adventurous," says Jesse's mom, Jennifer. 

On the morning of September 29th, Jennifer went to wake Jesse up but he wasn't in his bed.  She searched the house, then woke her husband.  When they still couldn't find him they called police and reported him missing.

His mother says she went through his back pack and found a note in his leather book.  "I knew right then."

Jesse, who they say had never let on that anything was wrong, had left a suicide note.

"He was tired of being used up, being milked by his peers that were around him," says Jeremy. "Over time I guess it got to him.  It's just sad."

News of the teen's death hit the Searcy community hard.

"Get on FB and that's the first thing you see," says Walter Franklin, drummer for Silver Tongue and father or two boys.

Franklin says he felt compelled to do something.

He and his band mates decided to hold a benefit to help raise awareness and money for a yearly college scholarship for a high school student in band, one of Jesse's favorite pastimes.  

Despite having never met Franklin before, Jesse's parents were on board with the idea.

The James family says they've been overwhelmed by the community support.  They say they want to talk about what happened to their son and keep his memory alive, so other children don't end up where Jesse did.

"Anything to help the children know they can be heard and it's okay if they feel the way that they feel and that people are here to help them," says Jennifer.

Jesse's parents say they don't believe the school knew what was going on.  They say since Jesse's death several students have reached out to them confirming that the teen had been picked on but they never reported it. 

The benefit concert will be at the White County Fairgrounds on Saturday November 4th starting at noon. 


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