A schoolboy was found hanged after bullies threw meat at him because he was vegan, it has been reported.
Louie Fenton, 12, died in January after suffering regular bullying, an inquest heard.
“He had regular appointments with the counsellor and he started self harming. They threw meat at him in the canteen because he was a vegan,” his mother, Catherine Fenton, told Hertfordshire Coroner’s Court, according to the Hertfordshire Mercury.
Louie, described as “a wonderful boy, much loved by family and friends,” was forced to eat outside and even took up smoking to cope with the stress of bullying, the court was told.
But his father, Graeme, was reportedly unconvinced he had meant to take his own life, and believed his son, a member of the local sea scout group, died while playing with knots.
Louie was also said to have been excited to take part in an upcoming school skiing trip.
Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan recorded an open verdict, the Mercury reported.
The headteacher of Richard Hale School, where Louie attended, said it had been “actively engaged” with him and his family.
Stephen Neate said in a statement sent to The Independent: “The whole school community was deeply shocked by the death of Louie Fenton. Our feelings are, and have always been, with his family.
“We were aware of concerns about Louie being unhappy at school and we were actively engaged with him and his family to address these issues. However, at no time were we made aware of the incident in which meat was allegedly thrown at Louie.
“This was never reported to the school by Louie or his mother, has not been substantiated by any member of staff at school or by any of Louie’s friends in Year 9.
“The safety, happiness and wellbeing of all pupils at Richard Hale is of paramount importance and the school prides itself on its pastoral care, which has been recognised in our most recent Ofsted report.
“We annually review our anti-bullying policy and advice on bullying, plus the school’s response to it, is displayed in every classroom.
“We will now review our procedures, ensuring that all agencies who worked with Louie and his family, both inside and outside the school, learn any lessons from this tragic case.”
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