Questions of bullying in boy's death

March 27, 2012 11:24:45 PM PDT
The mother of an 11-year-old boy found dead says he committed suicide, and now there are questions about whether bullying played a role.

The boy was from Rensselaer, Ind., a town with 6,000 residents about 40 miles south of Crown Point.

"He was the happiest child since the day he was born," said Hope Clarkson, mother.

Clarkson says her son, Jacob Bean, took his own life Monday. He lived with his father so her information is second-hand.

"Of course we wish we could go back and find out things, but sometimes there's not alarm bells, sometimes there's not a big flashing light that says there is something going on with your kids," she said.

Jacob Bean's death prompted his parents and fellow students to gather Wednesday night outside the Rensselaer schools administration building. Some say the problem of bullying at the local middle school has gotten out of control.

"I thought for a while I was alone until I organized the vigil, and then when the adults raised their hands to say they were fighting the same battle," said Crystal Sinks, Rensselaer parent.

"It's just gotten out of hand," said Tabitha Foresta, Rensselaer parent. "No one seems to be doing anything about it so someone needs to take a stand."

The Rensselaer school superintendent released a statement saying, "We have met with the police and they have informed us there is no evidence of any school issues ... If anyone has additional information, please have them share their concerns. We will address all issues to keep a safe and secure environment for all of our students."

Some parents say they've gone to school officials in the past, and nothing changed.

"I was told if they wanted to take my son out of class, they'd have to take every student out because too many parents have asked and nothing has been done about it," said Foresta.

The Jasper County, Ind., coroner has yet to rule on Jacob Bean's cause of death. ABC7 has not heard back from the sheriff's office, which is investigating the case.