Classmates say 4th grader who died by suicide was bullied

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee -- Neighbors are demanding change after a fourth grade boy they say was bullied at school killed himself earlier this week.

Britney Blackwell said the student, who we are not naming out of respect for his family's privacy, was like family.

"It just broke my heart because now I know that he is not going to come to my house again," Blackwell told WDEF-TV. "He is not going to give me a hug and say, 'Hey sister, hey family. I miss you.' I am not going to see (him) again."

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Residents at the Chattanooga apartment complex where he lived are leaving stuffed animals, letters and mementos underneath the stairs outside to honor him.

Kinnettia Word remembered the boy as "smart" and "full of life."

"There is no way I can believe this," Word said. "He was a good kid."

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According to friends, the boy was tormented both at school and in the neighborhood.

"The same kids that he go to school with that are bullying him, he come home and have to face them here too," Blackwell explained.

"He almost had to fight and defend himself every day," Word said. "Every day he had to fight and defend himself, and it's just...it is crazy."

RELATED: 10-year-old girl dies by suicide after possible bullying

Now, residents say they want the parents of this boy's classmates to get involved.

"We've got to watch out for each other," Word said. "I am on a bus stop with these kids every morning to make sure there is someone out there watching these kids...if you don't get involved, nothing will change."

Tyler Davis of Erlanger Behavior Health said suicides among young people continues to be a growing issue.

"Stress, bullying, threats feeling insecure, sad confused definitely contribute to suicidal thoughts," Davis said.