HOUSTON – Hundreds paid tribute at a memorial Saturday for a 13-year-old boy who allegedly committed suicide because of excessive bullying.
Asher Brown’s family planned the impromptu memorial at Moore Elementary in Houston and expected only about 30 people to attend. However, the turnout was even higher than they could have imagined.
While grieving for their son, David and Amy Truong used the day to thank their son’s friends.
"I want them to get a big round of applause, they stood up for Asher," said David Truong, Asher’s stepfather.
Brown’s classmates said he was bullied relentlessly for being different.
"Asher you will not die in vain. If anybody has drove through the car rider lane, you’ll see a sign that it was a no bullying zone," said one friend. "That sign did absolutely nothing to stop the bullying."
City council member Jolanda Jones attended the memorial. She said a young person she knew killed himself years ago for the same reason.
"It has to stop. These schools are not protecting these children," she said.
At the request of Brown’s family, Jones gave an impromptu speech.
" It just makes me really sad. And shame on adults," Jones said. "You know the kids, maybe they don’t know to protect their friends, but shame on the adults."
Gay right activist Ray Hill also spoke to the crowd, encouraging kids to speak up about bullying.
"What we need in this world is understanding and love," Hill said.
Brown’s parents talked about creating "Asher’s Rule."
"If anybody sees anybody being bullied please, say something. You’re going to be a hero," said David Truong.
The Truongs have asked that schools protect the kids who do the right thing and report bullying.
As for Asher’s death, the family said they’re not pointing blame in any one direction.
"But we kind of put partial blame on everyone, even ourselves," said Asher’s uncle, Jonnathan Truong.