SUICIDE: Nick Kelo, 13, Dead From Gunshot After Suffering Anti-Gay Bullying For Joining Band

Nicholas Kelo, a student in Akron, Ohio, shot himself dead on Feb. 23 at the age of 13. His mother suspects Nick may have gone for a gun because he was bullied after classmates began suspecting he was gay before he joined band. UPDATE: See below.

The harassment began when Nick Kelo decided not to continue playing football after moving from middle to high school, the Beacon Journal reports. He took band instead. And that, says his mother Jacqueline, is what started the gossip about her son; his peers thought (wrongly, she says) that he must be gay if her prefers the sax. “After that, it [the bullying] spiraled out of control.”

One such incident allegedly happened on a school bus following a football game, explained the mother of another Rittman teenager who said her son is also a victim of bullying. During the incident, Nick allegedly became the victim of an older student who was ”glicking” — forcibly spitting on him. Jacqueline Kelo knew something was bothering her son when he came home, but the eighth-grader refused to share the details — telling her that he would handle it himself. The parents became aware of it only after their son’s death. Jacqueline Kelo said it didn’t surprise her that her son kept his pain to himself. Nick viewed himself as his mother’s protector. ”He was the man of the house,” the single mother said.

Jacqueline says she went to the school twice since the start of the school year to register complaints about her son being bullied. Other parents report similar stories. But Jacqueline sounds forgiving when it comes to the school’s inadequate response.

When told about the complaints expressed by the Kelos and others about the issue, Rittman High School Principal Brett Lanz quickly noted that he was saddened by Nick’s death. ”I feel like . . .everything [bullying issues and other concerns] that is brought to my attention I deal with or respond in some way,” Lanz said. ”As a school administrator . . .you ask the same questions that everybody else asks — Are we doing enough? How more do we support students? The school becomes a filter for a lot of things these days.”

The Kelos praised Superintendent Jon Ritchie for stepping up following their son’s death. ”I honestly don’t think he knew that it was this bad,” Jacqueline Kelo said.

To help the school system, which has an anti-bullying program at the elementary level and has added counselors in some buildings, a fund has been established in Nick’s name to help with character education in the district. In addition, Ritchie said an anti-bullying program will be added to the curriculum in sixth through 12th grade. ”We are going to teach them about compassion and empathy and how to be sensitive to other people’s needs,” Ritchie said. ”I think if we reach the time in our schools and in our society where people generally care about other people, the bullying issue could disappear. ‘The people who are kind and respectful and really truly care about their neighbors, their community members, their friends generally try to do what’s right and try to be there for people. ‘We need to teach our young adults and children to care and be more compassionate about their fellow students. If we can create that kind of environment in the Rittman schools and in the Rittman community — I know this much — it will be a much better place to live and raise a family.”

A self-inflicted gunshot, from a gun kept in safe in the Kelo home, ended Nick’s life. What is unclear from the story, however, is whether he removed the gun to take his own life, or whether he was planning to use it in some way to protect himself from bullies Nick was transported to the hospital by helicopter, and nine of his organs were collected for transplant to those in need. Nick, who had a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do and held a red-black belt in kumdo, and was an avid inventor (“a waffle fork to remove hot food from a toaster and an incinerator trash can”), also had a 152 IQ.

UPDATE: Nick’s mother Jacqueline writes Queerty with an impassioned plea to remove our story.

As the mother of Nick, I am asking you to take this story down immediately. You have plagiarized the well written report by Kim in the Akron Beacon Journal, you misinterpreted facts and you have wrongly accused my son of being gay. I am outraged and horrified. As the daughter of a gay mother I know the struggles of the gay community well. I do not appreciate you using my son as a poster child for your cause, there are enough good honest gay people who need your help, my son was not one of them.

My son’s death was a tragic accident the resulted from his frustration of repeated bullying, yes, but it goes back years and is related more to his intellectual gifts and abilities. He was in no way suicidal or depressed. He was too smart for that. He was frustrated and angry and made an impulsive 13 year old error in judgment which led to a tragic accident due to the report from the lab that shows no gun powder residue on his hands. My son was not gay, your story is inaccurate and you are doing a huge disservice to both him, the children in this school who are bullied still today and the gay community.

Please retract this story immediately.

We will not be removing our story, but Jacqueline’s response does give us pause: In our initial reading of the news report, it appeared reporter Kim Hone-McMahan was indicating Nick took his own life because he could not tolerate any more bullying in school:

At the tender age of 13, Nicholas Kelo Jr. knew what it was like to be relentlessly bullied. It may have been what persuaded him to pry open a safe inside his Rittman home and remove the gun that killed him.

Each night when Nick’s mother, Jacqueline, left the University of Akron, where she worked in the political science department, she would call her son and chat on her way home. When she came through the door, he routinely welcomed her with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and carrots. But something was terribly wrong Feb. 23.

”I called at 6:30 and there was no answer,” said the grieving mother, her voice fading. ”And I kept calling. There was no answer.”

When she arrived home, she found Nick near death from a gunshot wound, lying on the living room floor.

”Deep down in our hearts, this was not a child who would have planned to take his life,” said the boy’s father, Nicholas Sr. ”He may have been bullied to the point that he felt like he needed to protect himself.”

Now Jacqueline says that is not the case, and that a lab report showed no gun residue on his hands. Which means the gun went off … accidentally? And was triggered through … a separate device? We’ve emailed her back requesting clarification. But as it stands, her son Nick was bullied in school, at least in part because some classmates believed he is gay. His actual sexuality is a moot point; we all know perceived sexuality can be just as damaging to bullying victims as anything else. We’re so sorry for your loss, Jacqueline, but by no means are we trying to disrespect his memory, nor make him a “poster child” of any “cause,” unless our cause is to make schools safer for every child.

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  • Francis

    It’s become completely obvious that these school boards and teachers in these smaller cities, rural towns and backwater areas aren’t going to do anything when it comes to anti-gay bullying, or really bullying in general. They simply will not do anything. That shows truly how pervasive and cultural the issue is in these areas. Akron isn’t a completely destitute town but it sure ain’t Cleveland. They get complaints from parents, and do nothing. That’s when the parents have to step in with a lawsuit or removing their kid from class. When it becomes obvious the child is at risk and these backwards areas promote anti-gay attitudes and don’t make any apologies, it’s time to get out of the situation or force change. These suicides are the fault of the everyone, from the school boards, to the students, to the parents. It’s good that they have taken steps to address the problems, but it’s too late. It shouldn’t take a suicide for these people and these areas to learn that this hate kills and that can no longer be an acceptable response.

    RIP, Nick. So heartbreaking. Seems like a kid with a bright future, most of the suicide victims do. Our best and brightest are going down while the mental lightweights and blackhearted are laughing all the way home. That’s a picture that needs to change.

  • Dgrin

    i wish news like these would reach out to other parents who witness signs of under-pressure behavior by their children, please make news like these never exist again, make your kids feel loved and admired for who they are,

  • Wyatt

    For all those who don’t know, glicking is when you shoot the tiniest amount of spit from under your tongue by pressing on your saliva glands. It’s harmless, not “forcible spitting”, and is frankly so insignificant that I cannot see this as a contributing event.

  • Pip

    is there a kind of spitting other than forcible?

  • christopher di spirito

    The poor kid. This bullying hit has to stop. Enough is enough.

  • Shannon1981

    RIP Nick. Another smart, bright, artistic, talented kid gone, while the ignoramuses go on, more than likely without shedding a tear or feeling so much as a moment’s remorse for their role in this.

    Wyatt, doesn’t matter what glicking is, or how much spit is involved. It needs to stop, along with all of it.

  • Francis

    Dgrin, exactly. Parents need to be attentive to their kids’ needs. But I think much of the problem is, these suicide stories may be making an impact in the mainstream world, in NYC, Boston or Atlanta. But, that’s not where most of the problems. The problems are these smaller areas that are not getting the message, or in fact are getting even worse. A lot of these parents simply don’t know what to do, how to handle the situation, or are uncomfortable in discussing the situation and ignore it. The kids themselves are overwhelmed and confused, and don’t think there is anywhere to turn who can help. There isn’t enough open communication when it comes to these issues, there is still an elephant in the room thing going on, and that wall needs to be broken down. And all of this needs to happen without a suicide spurring it on. These kids can’t be neglected anymore.

  • Francis

    Shannon, that is the part that always gets to me. The ignorant fucks continue being ignorant fucks, not caring or realizing how fucked up they are, these backwater areas continue being backwaters, and these bright kids with great futures are committing suicide or feeling completely alone. It enrages me.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Shannon1981: But it won’t, because people simply don’t care what happens to gay people.

  • blass

    maybe we need to thing of things that will give these lil baby sadists an outlet… there is nothing… short of 24hour surveillance… that will make bullying stop… so maybe it should be addressed from another direction too…

  • JT

    Rest in peace. :(

    It’s clear that the anti-bullying programs are not working and the whole “It gets better” project that Dan Savage only started to promote himself and get fame/$$$$$$$ is not working either.

    Too bad IGB is run by a hypocrite like Savage who likes to tell GLBT youth that “It gets better” yet he trashes adult bisexual and trans people.

    GLBT suicides happen all over, even in big cities and urban areas.

    Teachers and school administrators are not doing enough or the kids who are being bullied/harassed are not coming forward to their parents, school teachers/administrators until it’s too late and we have tragedies like this.

    I’ve lived in small towns where I was more accepted as being an out GLBT person than I was when I lived in a big city.

  • Francis

    JT, homophobia of course is an issue everywhere, but we need to get honest. The truth of the situation is, where are almost all of these incidents happening? Not in Cleveland, but in Akron. Not in Minneapolis but the rural towns outside of the city. Not in San Fran or LA, but Yuba City. Not people who live in Austin, but people who live outside of the city. Dan Savage’s campaign has definitely worked, as have the other testimonies. One can look at the millions of views these videos have that show they have worked. Thousands of kids have been helped. The problem is, that not all kids are reached, and the fact is, many kids do not live in accepting areas. They like in places where homophobia is the norm, and “it gets better” only goes so far in helping them when they live in hell, and there is little to nothing to turn to. As for anything changing, nothing will unless there are lawsuits and direct action. Just leaving these issues up to those “involved” will solve nothing, b/c they are not involved and they do not care. The teachers have been told of the bullying but do nothing, a lot of times out of fear b/c the kids are the inmates running the asylum and they are worried about what happens to them if they speak out against these kids. In their eyes, we are simply disposable. Bullying will never completely end but obviously, it’s time to stop getting nice, take the gloves off, and end as much of this unnecessary shit as possible.

  • Ian

    Give that school district a million dollar lawsuit and THEN they will correct their indifference toot-suite when there are no yearly bunus’ to be had due to the court win. If we can’t play on morality then rip it from the bigot’s wallets until they understand we WILL hurt them financially until they begrudgingly do the right thing.

  • StudioTodd

    @JT: We get it…you don’t care for Dan Savage.

    Why don’t you save your personal issues for a more appropriate forum?

    No one cares what you think about Savage…but I do have a question–where the hell is YOUR project to try and help these kids?

  • Charlie

    @JT: I don’t think anyone imagined that the It Gets Better campaign would completely end gay teen suicide. Savage has done quite a bit to reach out to youth. I would have watched them when I was 14.

  • Shannon1981

    The only way to help stop this is to attach a big fat LAW SUIT to each and every one of these incidents, directed at the school and the school districts, and the Department of Education, especially if parents complained and nothing was done to stop the harassment. Someone doesn’t commit suicide over one incident. They do it because they see no end in sight. The story is always the same: we moved around, we begged the school administrators, we went to the district office and the principals and the counselors and they did NOTHING. This stuff is sooo preventable, and that is a big part of what makes it so much more sad.

  • justiceontherocks

    @JT: I’m sorry. Was this post about Dan Savage? And how do you know the It Gets Better campaign isn’t working. It’s four months old. I’m willing to bet that many years from now scores of non-heterosexuals will remember those spots as a turning point in their lives. I’m willing to bet no one will remember, or care, what you think of Dan Savage.

  • TheWeyrd1

    It needs to be pointed out that parents of all kids need to be actively involved in teaching their kids about being kind and to report bullying (or confront it as a group of kids) when they see it. Unfortunately, kids learn MORE from their parents and families about how to act than a school can and should be responsible for. Yes, schools need to foster a safe and nurturing environment. Yes, staff members need to be more vigilant. But when it really comes right down to it, schools and their staff members get blamed for EVERYTHING that goes wrong from bad scores on state assessments to kids dying from bullying. And yet, rarely do the families and communities get held to the same level of responsibility for allowing bullies to develop in the first place.

    As someone who was bullied frequently for being the new kid in school and/or being perceived as LGBTQ, and as someone who works in schools I can say this with some authority. The BIG FAT ELEPHANT in the room is the lack of holding parents accountable for their kids behaviors. Research has found that “character” training in the schools in largely ineffective. Direct skill training on how to be kind, how to deal with bullies, and how to confront bullies in a group is more effective. However, none of that matters if the message at home is indifference or encouraging of bullying.

  • Scott Bonzitski

    Very sad indeed…SB

  • McMike

    OK, so nobody else caught this and I’ve noticed this before in a kid’s suicide.

    The mother, yadda yadda yadda, and my son was NOT gay.

    Sorry, but the kid looks kinda gay to me and I really doubt being bullied for being gay, when you’re not, is a bit easier to brush off since you’re NOT gay.

    This stuff pisses me off because the bullying a child encounters pales in comparison to what he’s dealing with at home when he has absolutely no support from his family. I remember being called a ‘fag’ in school and the last people I could turn to was to my family because I knew they hated gay people as much as the kids at my school.

    I’m sorry but families, such as this one, need to start placing the blame on themselves for their child’s suicide if they never told their child it would be OK with them if they were homosexual.

  • justiceontherocks

    @McMike: You don’t know that his parents never told him that if he was gay it was fine with them. People who write on blogs with no subject matter expertise (like me) and no knowledge of the kid’s situation (like you) don’t have any business speculating about what the family did or didn’t do.

  • McMike

    @justiceontherocks: That’s a load of crap BIG time. Don’t you think it’s a bit odd that after her son killed himself for being bullied for being gay she needs to add in, AFTER HER SON JUST KILLED HIMSELF BECAUSE OF IT, that her son was NOT gay.

    Look, sorry, but you maybe clueless but that’s a HUGE indication of her attitude towards gay people. Even in her son’s death she needs to make damn sure people aren’t thinking he’s a homosexual. Honestly, your child has just killed himself and you want to make sure people didn’t think he was gay. WTF is that?

    If there was ever a parent in denial, this woman is it. It’s not the first time I have seen a family member in the media making such a declaration after a kid kills himself for being called a ‘fag’.

    “Yes, my child killed himself after being bullied for being gay but he was not a fag!”

  • JT

    Todd, I actually talk to GLBT youth and work with GLBT people and youth in my actual community, unlike making a video and hoping that GLBT youth will watch it and take it seriously.

    “It gets better” is the stock quote that gets told to every kid in school that’s having trouble if the issue is trouble with a teacher, bullying, not making friends, getting bad grades or failing tests, or hating school.

    GLBT youth and teens already know that “It gets better”.

    The lawsuit is a good idea, as is holding the parents responsible for the actions of their children who are bullying other students and the students who are being bullied yet don’t say anything to school administrators, their parents, or teachers, and then we have tragedies like this.

  • mudgeboy

    We live in a “backwater” southern town and my son was being bullied unmercifully in the 9th grade. He told me he was bisexual and I told him that I was okay with him loving anyone, either sex. Unfortunately, he told a few friends and, before long, he became depressed and withdrawn. I knew he was being bullied and I went to the school several times and told the vice principle and prefect of discipline. But it became clear to me that there was very little they could do — they can’t follow the kid around the school all day. And the real problem is that a large number of the parents of the kids are homophobic and they encourage homophobic behavior, and they even encourage anti-gay bullying. When my son started to become self destructive by cutting himself, I took him out of the 9th grade, right in the middle of the year. He is now a senior in college with a 4.0 in a difficult major, but he can’t get a scholarship because he didn’t complete high school (he easily pased the GED but, here, that’s not the same). Trust me, homophobia is alive and well here.

  • Francis

    I agree with McMike. The mother wouldn’t need to say something like that, unless she somehow saw it fit to somehow not sully his name by accusations he was gay. Why else would she feel the need to add that “and they were wrong about him being gay.” Does THAT somehow make the bullying egregious?

    At the same time, I won’t speculate too much or judge because none of us know the true backstory story or intentions.

    All in all, this is a tragedy. TheWeyrd1 is absolutely right, parents and communities need to be held responsible for this, because if a kid comes home and is being abused, or is hearing hateful things, it will seep into their mentalities. This ALL starts with the parents not parenting sufficiently. This is also why the divorce rate, near 60%, is such a horrible issue. Most kids are in broken homes, or no homes at all. Many don’t know how to behave as reasonable human beings, don’t understand love, and have no empathy or respect towards humanity. Not making excuses, but the fact statistically, most bullies have been through some type of life shit that turned them that way, sexual abuse, parents who are abusive towards one another, no family whatsoever, bullying older siblings, extreme peer pressure because they don’t like themselves. And the lack of adults stepping in just gives justification to these bullies. ALL bullies are internally weak and conflicted souls, and they are almost as much of victims as the poor souls they bully. It’s a never ending cycle, and it starts by communicating with kids about how they are feeling, what they are going through, and adult figures being involved in their lives and giving them the guidance, love and support they need.

    When it comes to the school boards and these backwards communities in general, well, this isn’t D.C. or New York where protests get you far. These are largely backwards areas of ignorant people. So therefore, you have to fight fire with fire, since that is all they understand. And that means hitting them where they will hurt the most, the pocketbook. If your kid is being bullied and a school doesn’t immediately address the issue, sue the school. They’ll learn that way, by force and by fear.

  • Kev C

    I think it’s too early to comment on this. Motives and circumstances haven’t been determined yet. The bullying seems minor. It sounds to me like he was quite lonely and depressed.

  • Kieran

    Whenever anybody takes their own life it is a terrible tragedy and it’s particularly sad and tragic when a 13 year old with his whole life ahead of him kills himself. But let’s be careful not to turn kids like Nick Kelo into some kind of martyr/hero for gay rights. There is a right way and a wrong way to dealing with bullying and homophobia and killing yourself is definitely the WRONG way.

  • hsg9000

    This once again demonstrates how some teens are very emotionally fragile and how little it takes to push them into suicide. I hope Corbin Fisher’s people are reading this article. Maybe it will open their eyes and help them realize that young people too easily resort to suicide when they feel cornered.

  • SteveATL

    @Kieran: I find your comments terribly upsetting but not surprising. I’ve read previous commentary from you where you’ve always taken the defense of the heterosexual angle, while finding any justifiable reasoning to undermine the pain and discrimination of the gay bracket. That’s a trait I sincerely hope you examine in yourself.

    The fact that you would request the gay community to not be so quick to use this *child* as a symbol for anything coupled with your use of martyr is very troubling. The lack of compassion you have for a child, for the hurt other gays have endured, and your unwillingness to travel one second and put yourself in their shoes and TRY to examine how they felt is all the more troubling. But again, given what you’ve written in the past, very much so consistent.

    It’s a trait you may not see in yourself, but others do pick up on.

  • LGBT in CT





  • evie

    @McMike: I have to agree with this writer. In addition to being bullied in school. This poor kid had to keep this secret from his love ones about is sexuality. The red flags was raised when his mother said he was not gay and then she stated that he was having problems in school and wasn’t able to tell her about his problem…Mom, I’m sorry for your lost but your being in deny may have cause your son’s life.

  • Aaron

    @Wyatt: So glad that’s what you got out of this post.

  • Rick

    Do any of these suicide kids ever have active fathers in their homes?

    It seems to be a common theme.

  • Shawn Gipperich

    To the Kelo family my prayers are with you, and sorry for your loss. This is just horrible. I read this article 2 times. He was such a great kid, and heck he even was an inventor, as I myself am an inventor. He would of been somebody that I would of liked to have meet and get to know someday. I understand bulling, as I myself was bullied in school due to having autism, I was spit on, had chairs pulled from under me at lunch time, tripped while in hall, and pushed into walls, and called a retard at times, and even taunted for riding to so called retarded bus, which is not so, it’s a bus for kids with special needs. I am gay as well, but that never was a problem for me in school, as I think it was over shadowed due to my handicap. I myself just tried to deal with it, as the school did not want to do anything until they seen it happen which is why these kids are taking their lives. I think the schools should be doing more to get involved, and prevent this from happening. Also I think schools and teachers should be held liable for any discrimination against a student due to their sexual orientation, or even handicap or disability. It’s nonsense, and needs to stop. Teachers, and staff need to become more involved with whats going on, and listen to the students wants, and needs. Yeah I was told to just ignore the bullier, but that only goes so far, until the pressure builds up to the boiling point of rupture. We all need to get involved in this issue, and schools need to be held accountable, until something changes, we are all going to fight hard for these youth’s sanity. I myself planned to get involved as well. Sincerely Shawn from Missouri.

  • Migoli

    To those who are going to spin this to blame the victim, you are essentially missing the point and lacking complete compassion as well as accountability for the bullying and hate behind these actions. Bullying is terrorizing and no one deserves to be subjected to it. To claim that you managed to overcome it does not at all have any relevance to what someone else endured. To claim you are strong enough to have battled it does not address the ISSUE here which is that people who harbor disdain for others differences take it out on them via bullying. This all stems back to discrimination.

  • Kyle S.

    Anyone else find it ironic in one post right next to this post, Queerty is defending the use of the very word that triggered all these suicides and being flippant with brushing it off, while in another article Queerty tries to come off so very sympathetic to bullying and suicide.

    No wonder this site has made many a folks (great posters) leave for good.

    I’ve never seen any website promote such a counter productive message. Hateful slurs are ok, but let’s post a sympathetic article about children who take their own lives because of those very slurs. Shaking my head.

    Towleroad is . this much closer to getting my permanent readership.

  • Preston Mackey

    @Wyatt: @Wyatt:

    “It’s harmless, not “forcible spitting”, and is frankly so insignificant that I cannot see this as a contributing event.”

    Well, let me tell you this: Let this happen to you or one of your children and see if you would even consider that insignificant. Frankly, I think this is pretty damn significant – no person should have to go through that whatsoever, and I cannot believe you would have the audacity to post something that can be seen as “trying to better up the situation!” No matter how “insignificant” you think this is, any kind of physical contact that is unwanted is assault, and assault is a key component when it comes to bullying!

    Absolutely disgusting!

  • reason

    @Shannon1981: Now that is just silly, suing the districts will do nothing more than imperil the few programs that they do have to prevent bullying, after school programs, and much needed educational equipment. Schools are already under strain with the GOP cutting funding and firing teachers, the few that are left are struggling to keep up with the paper work let alone bringing a hammer down on them for things they can’t control. Bullying is a societal problem, and trying to put it on a school administration or teacher is intellectual dishonest. It is very difficult to control the behavior or thought process of a child when their is a multitude of influences outside the school walls that are more appealing to the child. The school can’t control messages the child is getting at home, media, influences of friends, or just plain wickedness of the soul. The really tried with the say no to drugs campaign. How did that workout? What you are saying is like blaming a friend for destroying your car becuase he was the last one that drove it even though the car failed due to years of abuse. We have to be realistic here, the schools don’t have a magic device to control the actions or behaviors of the children, you would need an army to protect and listen in on every kid in the school, and with the dismal teacher to student ratio the impact they could have had has been slashed. For those crying for lower taxes and less government, well there is consequences.

  • Jacob

    From one saxophonist to another, rest in peace brother.

  • Josh in OR

    You know, MAYBE she meant that her son was not gay to highlight that it’s not just gay kids who get bullied, and that ‘gay’ is all to often THE go-to epithet of bullying shits.

    Maybe, in her grief and nervousness in talking to a reporter, she didn’t get that across.

    Or maybe my lack of gay outrage over a perceived slight is too low and I’m just a bad homosexual.

    She just lost her son, a kid with – by all accounts – a huge amount of potential, and all some of you can think of is that she must hate gays?

    You know who else looks for perceived flaws and exploits them without fear of retribution?


    Let the woman grieve in peace and stop searching for the worst in people for just a moment and recognize that this is a sad moment, worthy of self reflection and compassion. It’s not a moment to hash out ones personal biases.

  • sidewalk

    The extreme bullying I got at home was far worse than the b.s that fellow students lobbed at me daily during middle and high school.

    Please remember, not all parents have the where-with-all that this mother did. Bless her and bless the poor guy who left too soon.

  • Real Talk

    If it happens at the schools, it’s the schools accountability to curb it. And that’s what all the courts are concluding. School property equals schools do something about it. That’s sorta what they get paid for, ya know? To protect our kids from 7 AM – 3 PM and not have a “whatever goes” approach to that responsibility. ALL our jobs are hard. Very few people have little to no responsibility in their job. The schools are thankfully imrpoving programs and action against this rotten behavior, as they should be.

  • brittany

    I miss you Nick.

  • Shannon1981

    @reason: Why is it silly to hold them accountable? Perhaps if they’d step up and do their fucking jobs, some of these kids would still be with us. In these little backwaters, they don’t listen to reason on issues like this one, or anything that challenges their comfortable, convenient, backwards way of doing things. They must be forced. I guarantee you if you threaten them with losing money, they’ll step up. This death and so many others in this tragic string were preventable.

  • brandon

    wow. the mother personally writes you to point out the flaws to your story and sounds flawless by doing so and you wont retract the story? im officially done with this website. fuck you queerty.

  • Paul

    Queerty once again grabs headlines and misrepresents the facts. Shame on you queerty! The group that runs this site is just sad. Grow up, please.

  • mike

    You should take the story down, if only to help Nick’s Mom.

    The pain of her son’s death will be with her every minute of every day for the rest of her life. You have the ability to remove some of that pain.

  • justiceontherocks

    @McMike: You are submoronic. The woman’s son committed suicide, it was at least in part caused by taunting over about being “gay,” and the kid wasn’t gay. What evidence do you have she’s not telling the truth? That “he looks kinds gay to me”???

    You’re just another idiot shooting off his mouth when he knows nothing. And if you had a scintilla of decency, you wouldn’t be throwing around accusations about a parent who has just lost a child.

  • Charles

    If Queerty plagiarized, it’s not the first time I’ve seen them just rip a headline off of another site without reference. Shame, shame, shame.

    Queerty, at least give the original authors some credit. You are discrediting yourselves.

  • Riker

    @mike: I understand what you’re saying, and I sympathize with the mother, but I have also dabbled in journalism. In a case like this, you don’t retract the story because of a grieving mother, otherwise newspapers would be a whole lot lighter every day. They got some of the facts wrong, and issues a correction. They even published the letter and stated that they are seeking further clarification.

    As much as Queerty screws up sometimes, in this case they were in line with journalist ethics.

  • robert in NYC

    Witness the deafening silence of the anti-gay religious cults in all this. They’re just as complicit in this type of bullying as are the perpetrators who commit these disgusting acts. In fact, anti-gay speech is a form of bullying, but the Supreme Court gives a free pass to hate groups who revel in hate speech against gays and the young men and women who gave their lives for their country. Sickening! Expect more of this now that the court has given legitimacy to uttering hate speech, no matter the consequences. I’m sorry, but words do have consequences.

    I’m now waiting for Fred Phelps to declare that the earthquake in Japan and its aftermath are down to gays.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    The mother seems more concerned about making sure everyone knows her son was NOT GAY, than the fact that her son was fatally shot under rather bizarre circumstances. If there is no GSR on his hands, then who shot him?

  • Michael in Toronto

    Just breaks my heart.

  • esurience

    What a terrible mother.

    Now we know why he took his own life instead of looking to her for help with whatever he was dealing with.

    Disgusting woman.

  • Cam

    Not to pile on in her time of saddness, but the mothers reaction…

    you have wrongly accused my son of being gay. I am outraged and horrified.”

    Seems ridiculous. She has a dead son and is outraged that some might think he was gay? Perhaps the sons saddness at possibly being gay can also be explained by that attitude at home.

  • LittleGreenMen

    I would take the story down.

    His mother is suffering enough already without strangers using her son’s death as some sort of bandwagon.

    Bullying and any attendant issues can be addressed by other means. There are plenty of examples, poster children, survey data to illustrate the evils of bullying, ineffectual school administrators, and bigoted communities.

  • Francis

    The way I see it, if he was bullied for being PERCEIVED gay, that is just as bad as an actual gay person being bullied. Ultimately, “gay” was a target in this situation, and that is what was being said. It may not have been the only factor, but it is a factor, and regardless, bullying is bullying, and it’s all wrong. I don’t think she’s homophobic, however the mother needs to realize that no-one here is trying to make accusations or attack her family in any way.

  • Fitz

    Keep the story up. It doesn’t matter if he was really gay… it’s the bullying that is the story. And di you confirm that the letter was really from her? Look.. the kid was bullied into suicidal behavior…. weather or not he was REALLY gay, and wather or not he REALLY wanted to die are not relevant. The kids at that school contributed to his death. His DEATH. They should feel awful. I hope his bullies have short ugly lives filled with remorse.

  • RomanHans

    Queerty did what other “aggregators” (like Gawker) do: summarize and/or rewrite stories found elsewhere. Unfortunately, sometimes the folks at Queerty aren’t awfully good at this, and their version differs substantially from the original. In this case the difference is RIDICULOUS. The original article is repeatedly ambiguous about whether this tragedy was an accident or suicide. Queerty’s version starts with the word “SUICIDE.”

    This is clearly wrong, clearly offensive, and I’m thinking probably actionable.

  • customartist

    For the Mother:

    While extremely sorry for your loss…

    I did not read or see indications that Queerty was saying that Nicholas was Gay, but that Nicholas may have been Perceived as Gay by others. THIS Potential Perception, if correct, Does Indeed make this relative to the Gay community, and others concerned with Bullying.

    While no one blames you in any way, One would think that, perhaps after some reflection, you may wish to assist in the elimination of Bullying, of any kind, including the Bullying of Gays, as Mothers such as yourself have and will continue to loose children in similar fashion, by not criticizing the fair and accurate portrayal of your son’s terrible situation and death, and by not appearing to find distain in the possibility, or in the public perception that Nicolas was Gay.

    I speak as a Gay father and a former victim of continual abuse in and out of the school setting, AND one who himself contemplated suicide because others Perceived me as Gay before I even knew it myself.

    I can find no eveidence that Nicolas is being misused or disrespected in any way here, but quite the contrary. We are all concerned.

    My sincere wish that you and your family may find peace and healing.

  • Jayson

    I should have killed myself in the 70s-80s when I was bullied and called a queer in school. I didn’t though because it was much more open back then, and I had many resources for acceptance and guidence (rolling my eyes).

  • John

    So, for whatever reasons she may have had for doing so (grief, denial, etc), you feel the need to establish your well reasoned argument by reprinting the original story sections with “see this is how I reached that conclusion, so we won’t be taking down the article.” Classy queerty…really classy way to treat a wounded woman who just lost her flesh & blood…but at least you were able to argue your point and shoot for “RIGHT”
    because RIGHT is always better than DECENT…always…

  • FearstheFutureUSA

    @Wyatt: Apparently you never had to ride a bus for hours while people were spitting on you. It is a sign of disrespect and has been for generations.

  • customartist

    People die every day. There is nothing indecent with printing News.

  • Fitz

    @John: no, there is a bigger RIGHT, and this time Querrty is on the right side of it. Bullying kills. The details of this child’s life are that he was bullied to death. he did NOT die of an accident. He died of bullying. He did NOT die of being gay (or not).. he died of bullying. he did not die of being an impulsive 13 year old. he died of bullying. VERY sorry for the momma’s grief, but his story is bigger than her right now.

  • Gavin C

    The mother of a dead child asks you to remove the story and you refuse. Unbelievable. As a gay person I am tired of this website draggiung down the gay community. I’m sure she knows her son well and you should respect her wishes, not cherrypick aspects of it and sensationalise the story. This story is adapted / summarised from elsewhere in such a misleading way that it enters the realm of fantasy.

    If you’re not going to take down the article then just leave it up. Don’t make it even more sensational by adding the mothers words to it, followed by an announcement that you’re not going to remove it. I’ve rarely seen a website stoop so low in order to get attention. Way to shit on your own cause, and use dead kids to gain hits. This is my last visit to the site. You’re a cancer on the side of a community you claim to represent. Disgusting.

  • Jake

    Just take down the article. What kind of inhumane trash run this blog? I can’t believe that after the distaught Mother emails you, you try to defend yourself by putting on your CSI hat. “We’ve emailed her back requesting clarification” (on the lack of gunshot residue on his hands).

    HER SON JUST DIED! Do you really think she should be asked to take time out right now to offer her thoughts on these issues to a trashy online magazine? What kind of heartless imbecile would even email back asking these questions?

    As a community we are passionate about others being able to appreciate us, understand how we feel and how we deserve to be treated fairly. Queerty apparently does not feel the need to extend that treatment to mothers of recently dead children. Along with others here, my last visit. Bye.

  • alan

    This website is trash that steals stories from news organizations and other blogs without crediting, pretty much copying them verbatim. Leave the mother and everyone else alone.

  • JennVal

    Just want to chime in about this whole “backwater” idea that seems to be spreading recently. As an LGBT identified person who grew up in a “backwater” area of America, then moved to the city, I can tell you it’s not any better the more metropolitan a place gets. I think the argument that, “Oh, if only they had grown up in Cleveland/Seattle/LA, they would have been so much more accepted,” is sort of bullshit. I teach, and can tell you that use of the entire host of LGBT related slurs in schools is alive and well and just as rampant as it is in those “backwater” areas of the country. Just some examples? A student calling another a dyke – the student’s response? “It’s okay, Ms. V. My Mom says that word all the time.” Teachers sitting together in the lounge laughing about how they went to, “the gay part of town” and how it was confusing that their weren’t male mannequins modeling women’s underwear – “That’s what gay men are into, right?” I may have been indirectly told I was going to hell growing up, or that I was a freak. Sure, I was bullied and teased at school. But it wasn’t because I lived in “backwater.” It’s because an anti-LGBT mindset exists across America.

  • Jim Hlavac

    I did not hear of this story here first, I read it yesterday elsewhere — it’s on many blogs everywhere, my own included now, long before I came here today. None of these blogs did any research, they ran with a story that was put out there, like every other story on any subject. The mother of the boy or somebody divulged the details to the media. No one said a peep about that, not that I’ve seen. Now a more well known gay site runs and it’s a problem? How did the story get into the news anywhere in the first place? If you don’t want stories in the media, don’t talk to the media, but once you do, well, unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag. Is she going to demand retraction everywhere? Is that possible? Ma’am, your loss is beyond our comprehension, but the media was alerted, by someone, and now it’s a national story on a matter of public debate. I wish it could be better, but it won’t be.

  • Kev C

    What Jacqueline needs to understand is that some parents of gay children will deny that they are gay. Some will try to erase their gay identity and rewrite their identity. Some will disown their children or wish they never existed. Until the facts are known, it’s safe to assume that he was bullied as a percieved gay.

  • Nathan

    I think Queerty has handled this well, they shouldnt cave to some appeal to emotion and take down the story. If you don’t like it noone is forcing you to read it, but I don’t see why they should take it down. Should news outlets not report on anyone’s deaths lest an offended relative see their face in the paper?

  • Shannon1981

    Firstly, Jaqueline, I am so sorry for your loss. However, am outraged and horrified that all you can think of after you just lost your son is to MAKE SURE not one solitary soul thinks, even for a second, that your son might have been gay. What does it matter? The only cause we are worried about is stopping the bullying. All of the bullying, no matter the reason for it or the identities of the victims. And yes, I blogged it on my personal blog too, and it shall stay.

    I admit that there are times when Queerty needs to step up and get facts right instead of trying to be provocative, but this isn’t one of them. A 13 year old kid was bullied to death, the latest in a long line of such tragic deaths. Of course the internet is afire with it. If you wish to read the entry on my personal blog, which is, by the way, devoted to reporting and stopping this nonsense, as well as promoting equality for all, click my name here.

  • Justin Ryan

    Forget the gay part! My question is how does a 13 year old gets hold of a gun? And apparently, a loaded and ready to fire one.

  • Justin Ryan

    Forget the gay part of this story. The question is how does a 13 year old gets hold of a gun? Many states have laws against such things.

  • Reverend Joshua Lambert

    You claim that you are not trying to accuse her departed son of being gay, but read your own title…

    I believe you should respect the decedent’s mother’s wish. She has politely requested that you remove the article about her son. Why do you, instead, insist on rubbing it in her face, that now her gay and only son is dead?

    Please re-think your motives here.

  • Riker

    @Reverend Joshua Lambert: Because no news source removes news articles because a grieving mother asks them to. Newspapers report on fatal car accidents, murders and suicides all the time.

  • iluzionist54

    I cannot stop wondering, that for a grieving mother the most important issue is that her late child was NOT gay … I really do wonder if this kid’s home was a loving home

  • Fitz

    Go away, “Reverend.” Your 4 inched dick god of fear has no power here.

  • Ron

    @Reverend Joshua Lambert It’s impossible to “accuse” someone of being gay, because being gay isn’t a crime. If we portray it in the light that a particular sexuality is negative in such a sense, that does a disservice to a great many vunerable people.

    There clearly is an element of anti-gay bullying to the original story. It’s stated in the story itself. It is of course a mistake or assumption that if someone is on the receiving end of anti-gay bullying, that they are gay. A dare say that the majority of those on the receiving end of anti-gay bullying are probably not gay. The article should state that his sexuality is unknown to avoid confusion, but the reverends comments do not help one bit. The Mothers words aren’t entirely helpful either, but her son has just died, so she’s going through hell right now. I feel terrible for her.

    The section relating to emailing the Mother back about specific parts of the story is foolish. She’s in mourning. Stop pestering her.

  • Francis

    Look, what it comes down to is this. The original story says, black and white we can all see it, that when Nick gave up football for playing the sax, people ASSUMED HE WAS GAY, and the bullying reached extreme levels. He kept most of the pain inside and no-one knew about the severity of what he was going through, until he committed suicide.

    So ULTIMATELY, who is at fault here? Because it seems like Jacqueline’s beef should be with the original story, which essentially connects anti-gay bullying to Nick’s suicide. That’s all Queerty has done here, report the story. Now personally, I don’t think pestering Jacqueline right now about this is necessary, however, going out of your way to eliminate the gay angle of the story when the original story quotes you as saying that Nick’s perceived sexuality created problems is a little eye raising.

    Personally, for me, Nick is dead. Whether he died due to self-loathing caused by homophobia, or because he was a smart kid around idiots, it matters not to me. Nick, 13, is dead and seemed as if he had a very bright future, and it’s heartbreaking regardless.

  • Corina

    On one hand, the mother does note that she has a gay mom and is comfortable with the gay community. “As the daughter of a gay mother I know the struggles of the gay community well. I do not appreciate you using my son as a poster child for your cause, there are enough good honest gay people who need your help, my son was not one of them.”

    On the other hand, her vehement denial of her son’s potential homosexuality seems like an extreme reaction to something that is ultimately irrelevant in light of his death. I can see how it would be offensive for others in the LGBT community that despite his death, her main point is to assert that he was absolutely not gay.

    My guess is that this is a grieving mother who loved her son with all her heart, and was doing the best job of parenting that she could. I’m sure she wasn’t perfect, but we have no evidence that she was anti-gay at home &/or towards her own son. People grieve in different ways…she probably has a whole lot of anger inside of her, but doesn’t want to direct it towards her deceased son. So, she aims it towards a website instead. Given her enormous loss, I don’t blame her for ranting at this website like she did.

    From a journalistic standpoint, I don’t know if this site has a history of plagarizing or omitting proper credit from stories. I don’t think there is an obligation to take down an article that a grieving parent objects to, but I hardly think it’s necessary to email her for gory details on her son’s suicide. I would hate Queerty too if I were her, because the last thing I would want to do is discuss the specifics with someone who is aiming to publish the information. Just my 2 cents, and RIP to this poor child.

  • Jenn

    Shame on you Queerty. Shame on you!
    The mother asks you to remove the story and you don’t? Deplorable.

  • Shannon1981

    @Jenn: Why is it deplorable? It’s a news site. They reported news. News isn’t always going to be happy. In fact, it rarely is.

  • Richard Ford

    The story should not be removed. It should reported in its entirety, which includes the mother’s comments and also eventual clarifications about what facts remain after the smoke has cleared. The mother got her opportunity to express herself (Queerty could have refused to pull the story without even making the mother’s plea public).
    It’s refreshing to hear both sides of a story for a change (media bias being so often an issue, slanted one way or another). I suspect much remains to be learned, however, and I will depend on Queerty to tell it all, as objectively as possible. No other source will provide such complete information about this story. Kudos.

  • Olive

    Dear Bully Queerty: Shame on you! A bereaved mother pleads that you remove a story (which was plagiarized by you) about her son and you refuse.
    Here is the link to the real story before you messed with it.
    This is not a story about sexual preference as it pertains to bullying. It is simply a story about bullying. And now YOU – Queerty – are the bully.

  • Glenn McGahee

    If the mother is reading this I hope she will understand that we, as The Gay Community, doesn’t care about the reason for the bullying. Its the bully mentality that historically has existed in the school system since it began.
    The kids need to learn empathy and compassion for their fellow human beings.
    Everyone has a talent to contribute to society. Its unfortunate that the athlete has become the source of pride among school systems and in our real world. Our President, at this moment of crisis is concerning himself with the NCAA Tournament about to begin. He’s watching game films and choosing who he plans to root for. And this is the NEWS.
    This website carries many stories that concern gays in particular. Isn’t it alright if we also care about what is happening to our youth? We have a stake in the future as well. I send my deepest sympathies to your family for the senseless loss of your talented son.

  • Richard Ford

    This will sound ugly and uncaring (but the truth often does sound that way, at its starkest).

    A bereaved mother is usually the person least qualified to comment cogently upon the recent death of her son.

    A bereaved mother is deserving of empathy, consideration, and respect, yes, but not to the point that her feelings, reactions, or comments should trump reality. The public has a legitimate interest in learning about high-profile figures and issues that reflect human nature and affect our social milieu, and the information they receive about these topics should be trustworthy and comprehensive.

    I don’t see Martin Sheen writing to this or that media outlet, begging them to retract a story about his son Charlie.

    I am often amused (poignantly, tragically) at parents who are certain that their angelic offspring are incapable of an evil thought or deed. John Gacy’s mother comes to mind.

    The fact is that, not only is it ultimately irrelevant whether Nick Kelo was or was not gay, but it also true that his mother does not know whether he was or wasn’t gay. She cannot know that, regardless of her own impressions or of what her son may have said to her.

    I wholeheartedly agree with her statement that classmates “wrongly assumed that a kid who would prefer to play the tenor sax rather than tossing a pigskin must be gay.” Clearly, it is wrong to assume this, to assign gender identity to a proclivity for a musical instrument. In the abstract.

    But we are dealing with a specific child here. If Nick’s mother believes that it is wrong to assume her son was gay, that is her opinion, which she is entitled to express. And mothers have been known to be oblivious or wrong.

    All these issues stem from the story, in the way it has been reported and re-reported, and all these issues are worthy of careful examination. To look only at parts of the whole picture would be “deplorable.”

  • Shannon1981

    Plenty of parents are completely oblivious to the fact that their kids are gay, or are in denial. I’m 30 years old and have been openly gay since I was 14. My mother still thinks I’m confused. What Nick’s mom thinks about his sexuality really holds no water. Most parents, whether they are homophobes or not, just don’t usually see it until they have evidence, and, even then, they sometimes write it off or deny it because in their narrow world it just cannot be true. But, at this point, due to this poor child’s death, nobody will ever know either way, and, at any rate, it is completely irrelevant. He was bullied to death. That is the tragedy, no matter if he was gay or not, or the reason for the bullying. That is what needs to be focused on.

  • Buffy

    What’s with this bizarre, recent trend of shooting any messenger that dare report deaths related to anti-gay bullying? Why is it so important to “prove” the victim was straight? Does it make their death any less tragic? Does it allow people to ignore or diminish the effects of anti-gay bullying (the effects of which go beyond the LGBT community)? Or is there still some perverse, ingrained homophobia that drives it?

    People are dying because of anti-gay bias. It doesn’t matter if they’re gay or straight. The important thing is doing something about it. Homophobia hurts everyone.

  • Lova

    This website is despicable. I just read this mourning mom’s reasonable letter to retract the story. Geez, does every suicide need to come around to gay bullying? You are using this tragic death as a tool, and it is not right!

  • Olive

    And what does Queerty say about the story being plagiarized?

  • McMike

    @justiceontherocks: Are you serious??? The mother is literally freaking out thinking people are going to think her son was gay. Before she wrote Queerty I smelled a rat, but now after this there is no doubt in my mind what drove this kid to his suicide. First off, the kid was 13 so how does she know he wasn’t gay when a lot of kids that age are just discovering their preferences? Now she’s having a panic attack with the thought “OH MY GOD!!!! People are going to think he’s gay!!!”

    No offense but no wonder this kid killed himself. The mother needs to take a long, hard look at herself and thing about how can she be so sure her child wasn’t gay and what vibe she gave off. The kid looks gay, in my opinion, and this mother’s reaction just proves my point the bullying a kid goes through at school pales to the rejection he might face at home.

    This mother needs to ask herself, “Did I ever tell Nick it would be OK with me if he was gay?”

    The students obviously picked up on it and for her to make it her main focal point, making sure people don’t think he was a homosexual, is beyond obnoxious and I feel absolutely no pity for any parent who, by having absolutely no compassion and understanding for a child who might be gay, is the most guilty aspect in that child’s suicide.

  • Cam

    All you sad trolls coming in here DEMANDING that they take down the story need to think about something.

    Her son killed himself and yet instead of grieving she is rushing around freaking out that somebody MIGHT think that he is gay.

    If anybody I knew had killed themselves, the LAST thing there parents would be concerned about was whether anybody thought they were gay or not. Frankly, in her attitude I see why her son, if he was gay, would have despaired ever being accepted.

    If this boy was being picked on because he was perceived as being gay, then this is a story that a gay blog has every valid reason to run. The mother didn’t care when a NON-gay outlet ran it, once again leading me to suspect somje serious homophobia in that household.

  • McMike

    @LittleGreenMen: F*ck her. The mother needs to come to grips that if she’s so obsessed with people thinking her son wasn’t gay after he killed himself then she must have made his life a living hell when he was alive because God knows the last thought going through this kids head was knowing his mother could never, ever, cope with him being gay. I mean this is absurd this mother’s main concern for her son AFTER he KILLS himself is that people don’t think he was a fag. God only knows what his life must have been like at home.

    This woman is scared shiteless people are going to think he was gay so one could only imagine what it was like when he was alive for anyone with any ounce of compassion in their heart wouldn’t be zoning in on this aspect after their child kills himself.

  • McMike

    One last posting… I thought it was a bit odd yesterday when the mother, in the original item, had to come out and say her son wasn’t gay. Not that she’s actually written Queerty to make this claim again, well it just give a huge indication of what this kid was going through if he was gay.

    If the mother is reading this, we’re all sorry for her loss. But if a parent has a child who is being called a ‘fag’ at school and does NOT tell that child it will be OK if they are gay, and the child ends up committing suicide, then the parents need to ask themselves if things would have turned out differently if they showed their child one ounce of compassion and understanding in regards to their child’s possible homosexuality.

  • Kev C

    Stay classy, Ohio.

  • Michael

    Wow. Queerty says Nick was gay, so I guess that’s what we must believe. I guess we also must believe this was a suicide, because in the absence of a suicide note, Queerty knows about these things. Fabricating stories like this, is absolutely pathetic.

  • Andy

    Right on cue, the SWORD trolls begin to trickle over to marginalize and degrade. Its almost comical (and would be if the issue weren’t so senselessly sad) how much this pisses Zach Sire off.

    Stay on the SWORD/PRAVDA boys and keep twisting your stories to make your sponsors look good.

    I’m surprised he’s been able to stop tonguing Corbin Fisher’s taint long enough to send people over here.

  • ewe

    Newsflash to the mother: There is no need to have your son as a poster child for gay oppression. Secondly, i think you are understandably incapable of objectivity regarding this tragedy. I hope you find peace.

  • fuzz

    Queerty: No need to be so snippy about asking for clarification on the issue of the gun. If there was no gunpowder residue, maybe Nick dropped the gun, and it went off accidentally. Happens to people who handle guns professionally… why wouldn’t you think it might happen to a kid?

    Leave the story up, but leave the poor woman alone, and take down the “Suicide” part of the headline until it’s ruled officially, one way or another. Respect Nick’s memory by reporting the truth without being pushy jerks about it.

  • Julia Tenner

    Ms. Kelo:

    I am sorry for your terrible loss. But respectfully, I do not understand your thinking. Your son was bullied b/c he was perceived to be gay. It does not matter a whit whether he was or wasn’t. Anti-gay bullying damages and kills straight kids too. A recent example is an 11-year old boy who had his arm broken b/c other boys thought that his being on the cheering squad was too gay. A more lethal example from New York involved 2 brothers mistaken for gay as they walked down the street. One was killed.

    If anti-gay bullying contributed in any way to Nick’s death, then it is entirely appropriate for Queerty to write about it. And that is so even if Nick was not gay and even if his death was not a suicide.

    As far as I can tell from the article and your email, your top priority is establishing that your son wasn’t gay. But as far as I can see, you make no effort to hold legally accountable – or even to name – the bullies who tormented Nick. And you offer as a defense of Superintendent Ritchie that he “didn’t know it was that bad.”

    Well, he was supposed to know. That is part of his job, a job that nearly always pays a 6-figure salary and not infrequently stands as one of the highest paid positions in state and local government. We have to start holding people accountable for their acts and omissions. That, it seems to me, is a more important concern and the one that you might consider making your own.

  • RJ

    @Julia Tenner: The woman’s son just died, would you give her a break? She has every right to not want her son to become the object of attention of a group that randomly decided he should be their martyr.

    Where did you get the idea that her “top priority is establishing that [her] son wasn’t gay”? It sounds like she just wants to set the record straight and you’re getting upset because she didn’t give the thumbs up to this sensationalistic news story.

    And about the superintendent: they usually handle entire school districts, so they have thousands of students going to their schools. It’s ridiculous to expect him to know the plight of every student; that’s what the counsellors are for. Leave the guy alone, jeez!

  • jason

    You do not need to be gay in order to be the victim of anti-gay bullying. Anti-gay bullies will attack the concept of being gay and not just the actuality. It’s important to realize this. Thus, if an anti-gay bully perceives an act, a person, a thought etc to be “gay”, he will attack it.

    We’re dealing with a psychosis here. Don’t underestimate its reach.

    As for Nick Kelo, my heart goes out to his family. He looked to be a lovely lad who took the worst possible option out of his predicament. The school needs to take some responsibility for this.

    As for the bully, if I saw him, I’d smack him in the mouth, and then some.

  • coffeebot

    I fail to see how QUEERTY’s publishing has gone beyond reporting Bullying-the-Perceived-as-Gay. Without the honest but anecdotal evidence of teen witnesses, further groping for the truth approaches the indelicate.

  • zacht

    i see no problem with posting a story about anti-gay bullying on a gay-centric site. queerty is not saying that he is gay, but that he was bullied for it, like so many non-gay teens. but anyway maybe he was gay! that, as queerty points out, should not be the point at all. i wonder why she became so defensive, especially if she was raised by a gay parent…very strange.

  • Roberto

    RIP Nick….

    Poor kid. This bullying hit has to stop. That is enough !!!


  • The sane Francis

    The questions still remain. Was Nick taunted with anti-gay slurs or was he not taunted with anti-gay slurs. It doesn’t matter either way ultimately, Nick is tragically dead. But in terms of Queerty and the other media reports, either what they reported was wrong, or the true story hasn’t been fully presented yet. Personally I think it’s horrible that this situation has turned this way, but the whole going so far to eliminate any gay angle to the story is definitely fishy. I think everyone just wants some clarity, instead of using his death as a “propaganda” tool.

  • The Questioner


    She has every right to not want her son to become the object of attention of a group that randomly decided he should be their martyr.

    Your entire reply to Julia Tenner is absolutely trifling from top to bottom, and reeks of homophobic apologia. To top it off, you valiantly defend the inaction and apathy of the district superintendent, a man who is 100% responsible for investigating bullying and harassment. Honestly, you sound suspiciously like an anti-gay troll.

  • Kev C

    @The Questioner: Seriously. Straight kids trying to be gay suicide martyrs.


  • Caleb

    There’s a fine line about reporting about “the facts,” and another about advancing an agenda. Please be a little civil and respect the mother’s wishes. Remove the post. Not everyone wants to be an activist.

  • B

    No. 102 · fuzz wrote, “Queerty: No need to be so snippy about asking for clarification on the issue of the gun. If there was no gunpowder residue, maybe Nick dropped the gun, and it went off accidentally. Happens to people who handle guns professionally… why wouldn’t you think it might happen to a kid?”

    I was wondering about that yesterday, and did a quick google search. It seems that some guns, but not all, can go off if accidentally dropped. One article mentioned a case involving Wyatt Earp (it dropped out of his holster, but the bullet fortunately missed everyone). It was more common in the past when the designs were less sophisticated than today.

    Regardless, there are a lot of loose ends. Apparently the gun was locked up and its container forced open. Why would a kid,
    particularly a very smart kid, do that as his parents would surely notice and ask questions? For a suicide, there would be no time to ask questions, but there was allegedly no gun residue (and I guess, no mechanism set up to fire it without holding the gun in one’s hands as that would have been seen after the death and presumably reported), which seems to rule out a suicide. So, why was the gun removed? Did some of the bullies show up and were making threatening noises outside? Was another person involved (who then panicked, ran away, and is too scared to say what happened)? Was the gun one that can go off accidentally when dropped? Hopefully the police department is looking into all those possibilities.

  • Kev C

    @Caleb: “There’s a fine line about reporting about “the facts,” and another about advancing an agenda.”

    Queerty is fair and balanced. Also gay.

    The story is a gay related story. Removing the story would be advancing the Anti-gay agenda.

  • GM

    I am DISGUSTED at the lack of EMPATHY/RESPECT queerty has to the request of a mother and continue to sensationalize your lack of proper reporting…… If It Bleeds It Leads! QUEERTY YOU ARE A BULLY!

  • TommyOC

    I re-read the original post on the subject (before the update) and will note that Queerty didn’t assert that Nick Kelo was gay – at least that’s not how I’m reading it.

    They did, however, report that Nick Kelo was the victim of anti-gay bullying. And, well… HE DID!

    Just because someone thinks you’re gay and subjects you to anti-gay bullying doesn’t mean you’re gay.

    And that doesn’t mean “teh gays” should not take exception to that sort of bullying.

    I don’t want ANYONE bullied for their perceived or actual sexuality – or for much of anything, really.

    I’m with some other commenters here – unless I failed my reading comprehension tests, Queerty didn’t do anything wrong. And it seems Ms. Kelo is a tad too worried that her son might be falsely labelled gay by this website (which he wasn’t) and embraced by its readers (even if he wasn’t gay) than be worried that her son most likely suffered REAL anti-gay bullying in school, regardless of how accurate the bullying was.

    It’s safe to say, however, that we all universally mourn the loss of a bright young man with so much promise. My personal thoughts are with you and yours, Ms. Kelo.

  • Christy Dick

    Let me tell all of you gay or not..A number of other kids his age ‘surpise’ have been and are being bullied in his school. I have friends who removed there kids from public school and put them into a private school. When it happened to my son Brenden..Another one of my friends hired a lawyer because her son as post trumatic stress syndrome…Another friend moved to different county… The head of the school turned his head but the social worker in the school handled it and the other child was taken out of the school. Now my son is doing much better now but it took a toll on him and our family. This needs to stop gay or not no one should be bullied. Thank you

  • Kyle

    There is such disdain for gay people even with this kid’s death because of anti-gay bullying. The mother is focused on making damn sure that her son wasn’t one of those homosexuals when she should be speaking out about anti-gay bullying period and that homophobia needs to end. That is very odd to me and just contributes to the overt hate for gay people in America. And, just because she has a gay mother, which, in my opinion, I find suspect, that doesn’t mean she’s gay friendly despite what she may claim. There are tons of gay people who can attest to that with their so-called family who tolerate their gay son or daughter or have disowned them all together but still “love” their child but they are not welcome. My heart goes out to Nick. Nick had nobody it looks like. I blame the homophobic attitudes of the bully’s, the school administrators, and the parents who live in denial that their child might be gay and who refuse to gently bring up the topic out of prejudice and probable embarrassment for themselves mostly, and because of this, kids are ending their own life.

  • Kris

    The story, like all of the others, horribly saddens me. So much to live for but not capable of understanding that yet.

    I am somewhat shocked that the mother wanted Queerty to remove the story. It’s not “our cause”! Isn’t the current situation with suicide a National problem, since when did it become the gay community’s “issue”?

    Regardless of whether her son was gay or not, she will never know AND ultimately, who cares if he was gay, the fact he was bullied is enough to warrant reading about it on this or any other site.

    Get over that homophobia and focus on the real issue!!!

  • KalperniaRena

    Geeze people, that lady just lost her son. If she says this offends her, take it down for gods sakes.

  • McMike

    Read this again and maybe it’s Queerty’s reporting but the fact she had to declare he son was NOT gay in the original news report just sticks out like a sore thumb.

    The mother should have some compassion but it just seems really, really odd that after your son died you’d have to make a statement that your STRAIGHT son was bullied for being gay.

    How many straight kids actually kill themselves for being bullied for being “gay” versus the gay kids that actually commit suicide is the question though…

    Sorry, but red flags just pop up all over the place:

    1) The son is bullied for being gay.

    2) He’s killed by a gun when he’s by himself.

    3) The mother is desperate not to have anyone think he was gay.

    If the mother is this desperate that people don’t think her dead son was gay then I could only imagine what kind of vibes she gave off to him when he was alive.

  • Just wondering

    I have only one question, if this young man’s mother has expressly asked you to retract this story, no matter what the reason, why were her wishes not respected?

  • Just wondering

    Maybe she wasn’t desperate to let people know her son was straight. Maybe she’s desperate to let people know the truth. Regardless, she has asked that this article be removed so it shouldn’t still be here.

    Give this lady a break. She just lost her 13 year old son. Gay, straight, black, white, smart, slow.. it DOESN’T matter. Have some compassion!

    My son is bullied at school and I have no problem saying he’s straight. The fact of the matter is that bullies are cutting down the lives of young people almost every single day. This has to stop!!

  • Str8Edge

    I don’t understand the mother. She goes out of her way to say people know her son was not gay. Then she goes on to say that she is the daughter of a gay mother. I don’t see how the two are related. I s she proud to be the daughter of a gay mother or ashamed? She is showing shame by telling people my son wasn’t gay, my son wasn’t gay. Then she says I’m the daughter of a gay mother. So stupid. Anyway, it doesn’t matter if your son was being bullied because people suspected he was gay or because he was an intellectual like she says. That is so stupid lady. She has completely missed the point. Your son was being bullied and now he’s dead. Got it?

    Sorry, but parents have a lot to do with children committing suicide too. Not just bullying.

  • Str8Edge

    I don’t understand the mother. She goes out of her way to let people know her son was not gay. Then she goes on to say that she is the daughter of a gay mother. I don’t see how the two are related. Also, is she proud to be the daughter of a gay mother or ashamed? She is showing shame by telling people “my son wasn’t gay, my son wasn’t gay.” Then she says I’m the daughter of a gay mother. So stupid. Anyway, it doesn’t matter if your son was being bullied because people suspected he was gay or because he was an intellectual like she says. That is so stupid lady. She has completely missed the point. Your son was being bullied and now he’s dead. Got it?

    Bullying is a national problem. Parents need to get more involved. You will never know all that your child is doing. You’ll never know everything they are going through, but you have to be active and truly aware of what type of relationship you have with your child. If it’s one where the child is closed off you have to work on that EVERYDAY. There are so many signs that parents ignore or just don’t recognize because they’re not as active as they should be. This goes for the parents of bullies and the parents of the children being bullied.

  • guest

    I resent the implication that one can be “too smart” to be depressed or suicidal.

  • Matt

    One has to wonder if she wrote every outlet posting this story or only targeted the gay leaning sites, since as written, it only reports bullying based on the perceived notion of other children that this child was gay, or just kids being dicks and slotting their victim into an easily bashed minority slot. Unless I’m missing something it or it’s been edited, I’m not seeing the “GAY TEEN COMMITS SUICIDE!!!1!!11” in bright lights here.

    Also agree with others on the hostility she appears to exude. “Outraged and horrified” that anyone might possibly consider for a moment that her child may have actually been gay? A little strong for something that really doesn’t matter at this point. Still, I don’t think you should have bothered emailing her back about details. It’s not particularly necessary to the story to get into the exact nitty gritty of how he died.

  • JT

    I feel bad for Nick and his mother Jacqueline Kelo. :(

    I do agree with McMike it is rather odd that Jacqueline Kelo lashed out in anger and was insistent that her son is not gay and should not be somehow associated with GLBT youth that commit suicide.

    Nick May have been bisexual, gay, or straight but we’ll never know.

  • parent

    To all those who have read this or will read this: my partner and I live in the same town as Nick and his family, my child was close with him. He was out as bi-sexual at school, however feared he would break his parents hearts if he told them their only son may never give them a grandchild. The town we live in is small 6000 people and 12 churches! A bunch of bible pushers against homosexuals. The town does not know about my partner and I they think we are relatives and to make life easier for the children that is what they tell their friends. We live in this town because it has the best school system close to my work.

    There are two schools here a k-5 and 6-12, which is new, when Nick passed there we’re 3 schools, elementary 6-7 and 8-12. The high school principal had told children bullied in the past to “suck it up”, there were 265 kids in that building last year. The superintendant is in charge of our district and another neighbor district of equal or smaller size, and unless the parents of a child go to him he has no clue what is happening in the schools.

    In closing Nick was 1 of 4 young men in 4 years all between 12-15 who committed suicide for being gay, bullied or both. My child knew 3 of them well and remembers them daily!! Also I’m. Not sure about the report of their being no residue on his hands, I do know he was shot in the head and he left a note about not handling the bullying.

    At the same time the district allows the elementary students to be taken out of school for bible study, they walk down the street to a methodist church with a church member and it is the parents responsibility should something happen while off school grounds. Luckily that program is voluntary and my children didn’t go! Plus until last year there was a 6th grade teacher who spent 4weeks teaching about christ and the new testament under the guise of world religion, to which she spent 1day per other major religion.

  • tara4time

    As the Mother of Michael Allen Barnum Jr. Age 13, until his death by his own hand, i too feel my son was subjected to constant bullying. His distant Native American heritage and his Father’s “backwoods” upbringing made him the target of both adults and children. His too thin eyebrows and his “rat tail” hair style earned him the taunt of “ratboy” to the degree he physically ripped the rat tail off. An administrator in one of the schools objected to my son having free lunches because he wore a few ‘high end’ pieces of clothing and advised my disabled husband that if he “spent less on clothes and more on food he wouldn’t need free lunches.” My husband does not have a single complete finger on either hand and is missing 3 complete fingers. I allowed the Catholic student of one of my close friends to give that administrator a call to advise her he gave my son his gently worn clothing so he would not be bullied in school. To this day I feel my son’s death was caused by a temper tantrum that was meant to be a staqed event that went horribly wrong. I found him, his father and I tried desperately to revive him, and to this day we cannot fathom existing without him. My prayers are with the other parents and the families. We cannot reason what God’s plan is for these horrible events to have taken place. We can only trust that perhaps these events will end the vicious spiteful behaviors of both adults and children toward each other. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Great Spirit grant that I may not judge my neighbor until i have walked a mile in his moccasins. In God We Trust. Michael Allen Barnum Sr, and Teresa Marie Barnum, Proud Parents of Michael Junior may we see him soon in God’s time.

  • LW

    I believe the parents are to blame as well. Having the gun in the house that a kid can get access to it easy just plain negligence on their part. So you cannot lay blame on schools.

  • Truth

    Another one bites the dust!

  • td

    wat ever people say bout some one bein bullied or his the parents that had a wonderful child,that is the most rediculious thing i have ever heard. are you serious.there is bulling all around the world and everybody just looks past it.we should teach are childern to speak up and speak out.some of the comments on this page shouldnt even be on here.i knew nick personaly and he had a girlfriend.the people on this page that talk about a young man that was the smatest young man who loved life and all his friends and loved wat he did. those people that talk about someone they dont even no should think before they type.thats ridiculious.it brings tears to people that you have to say bad things bout a inteligent young man should go think of wat you are typing.this is sad.


    Too the parent of the teen please call me at 3345572320 I have help…any one who suffers from being bullied call 3345572320 and lets put at stop too thos. My email is [email protected] 3345572320 is my phone number.

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