Drayke Hardman was a 12-year-old-schoolboy from Tooele County, Utah, who tragically passed away on 10 February 2022 after reportedly trying to take his own life in response to bullying from a classmate.
The boy’s grieving parents, Andy and Samie Hardman, have since told KUTV that they had been in contact with their son’s school about the problem prior to his death, which had seen him return home with a black eye earlier in the week and later confide to his sister that the injury was sustained during a physical altercation with a peer.
Drayke subsequently missed basketball practice on Wednesday evening, whereupon he made a suicide attempt, was discovered by his sisters and raced to hospital, only to be pronounced dead in intensive care on Thursday morning.
The Hardman family appealed to other parents to look out for the tell-tale signs of bullying in their own children’s lives and urged them to intervene to prevent further tragedies taking place.
“Kids are going to be the kinds of kids that are going to do what they want, until they know that it’s not OK. I think that that’s where those hard conversations come from,” Samie Hardman said, her husband adding that Drayke had been too frightened of repercussions from his aggressor to come forward and tell them what was going on.
The couple said they were sharing Drayke’s story to raise awareness about the appalling realities of playground bullying and promoted a social media hashtag, #doitfordrayke, to encourage people to be kind to one another and pay generosity forward whenever possible.
A GoFundMe account has been set up by a family friend to support the costs of Drayke’s funeral and memorial service, with Utah Jazz basketball stars Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert already contributing after being alerted to the tragedy by Andy Hardman on Twitter, who told them how important the team had been to his late son.
“Our sweet 12 year old baby boy passed away this morning after an attempt to take his own life last night,” he wrote. “He’s the biggest Utah Jazz fan. Thank you for making a bright spot in his heart.”
The page has already raised more than $80,000 at the time of writing after Drayke’s story was shared across social media.
Writing about her bereavement on Instagram, Ms Hardman said: “This is the result of bullying, my handsome boy was fighting a battle that not even I could save him. It is real, it is silent and there is nothing absolutely nothing as a parent you can do to take this deep hurt away. There are no signs, only hurtful words of others that ultimately stole OUR Drayke from this cruel place.
“How does a 12 year old who was so knowingly fiercely loved by everyone think that life is so hard he needs to take himself from it.”
She continued: “My heart is shattered, I don’t know how to fix it, or if I ever will, but I will spend every minute teaching kindness in the memory of my favorite dude. His purpose here was to teach kindness, to show love that and he absolutely did, he took anyone in as a friend so that they had one. Once you were in Drayke’s tribe, you were there forever.
“I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for my people, for the calls, the texts, all the messages. I try to respond, I do but I don’t know how right now. I will say hold you babies, hold them tight. Teach them to live and to love fierce. Teach Kindness and #doitfordrayke.”
You can contact the Samaritans helpline by calling 116 123. The helpline is free and open 24 hours a day every day of the year.
You can also contact Samaritans by emailing email@example.com. The average response time is 24 hours.
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