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School bullying policy in question after 12-year-old hangs himself

| Friday, April 13, 2018, 11:39 a.m.
In this spring 2017 photo provided by Matthew Leach, his son, Andy Leach, poses at an auto race near Southaven, Miss. More than a month has passed since the 12-year-old boy hanged himself in his father’s garage after being bullied at school in Mississippi. While Andy Leach’s family waits for answers, experts say his school’s bullying policy lacks some key elements, such as written consequences for bullies and detailed support for victims. Matthew Leach said the bullying escalated after his sixth-grader said he might be bisexual.(Matthew Leach via AP)
In this spring 2017 photo provided by Matthew Leach, his son, Andy Leach, poses at an auto race near Southaven, Miss. More than a month has passed since the 12-year-old boy hanged himself in his father’s garage after being bullied at school in Mississippi. While Andy Leach’s family waits for answers, experts say his school’s bullying policy lacks some key elements, such as written consequences for bullies and detailed support for victims. Matthew Leach said the bullying escalated after his sixth-grader said he might be bisexual.(Matthew Leach via AP)

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — More than a month has passed since a 12-year-old boy hanged himself in his father's garage after being bullied at school in Mississippi.

While Andy Leach's family waits for answers, experts say his school's bullying policy lacks some key elements, such as written consequences for bullies and detailed support for victims.

Matthew Leach said the bullying of his son Andy escalated after the sixth-grader said he might be bisexual. Leach says he heard nothing more after he complained to the school and a counselor sat down with Andy and another student.

Only after his son's death did he learn that the bullying at Southaven Middle School got worse. Police and school officials say they can't discuss it, but bullying expert Michael Sulkowski says making the victim and bully meet this way can “add fuel to the fire.”

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