DENVER-- 9-year-old Jamel Myles started fourth grade at Joe Shoemaker School on Monday.
Weeks before he had the courage to tell his mom Leia Pierce this: "He was like 'Mom I'm gay.' And I thought he was playing, so I looked back because I was driving, and he was all curled up, so scared. And I said, 'I still love you.' "
She added: "He went to school and said he was gonna tell people he's gay because he's proud of himself."
But on Thursday there was heartbreak. Pierce found her son dead in their Denver home. She says he killed himself after being bullied.
"Four days is all it took at school. I could just imagine what they said to him. My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself. I'm just sad he didn't come to me," Pierce said.
A letter from Denver Public Schools to families Friday says they're providing extra social workers and their crisis team for students.
In a statement, the district says it will continue to offer support to the family.
"I'm so upset that he thought that was his option," Pierce said.
Through this devastation, Pierce wants to spread awareness about the effects of bullying: "We should have accountability for bullying. I think the child should. Because the child knows it's wrong. The child wouldn't want someone to do it to them. I think the parent should be held because obviously the parents are either teaching them to be like that, or they're treating them like that."
She's hoping no parent ever has to go through her pain because their child is different from everyone else.