Devin James Scott was a vibrant and compassionate young man. He was adored by his mother Angel Bradley, his 4 brothers, Donte, Desmond, Derek, Dillon and sister Stephanie. He had a lovely girlfriend and many friends and classmates. He was the type of kid who consoled other kids who were feeling down or hurt. He had plans to attend college and pursue a career in the Air Force. He was a good student, a loyal friend, and a beloved son. He was not afraid to wear his favorite character “cookie monster” hats and shirts as he loved chocolate chip cookies and was dubbed the cookie monster within his family and circle of friends. He almost never wore any other color than cookie monster blue. He loved life and lived it to its fullest. He had a fun job at Skate City, a local roller skating rink that he loved. He always had an encouraging word or a hug when he saw a friend or fellow student in need, even if he didn’t know them! He had a strong family base and support network. He was not the type of kid most would see as a target for bullies. He was not what anyone would view as an at-risk teen. While no child is perfect or problem free, Devin did not stand out as someone who needed help to deal with adolescence or life itself. He had clear goals and worked toward them with the support of his loving family. His house was the one all his friends hung out at after school and on the weekends because it was a welcoming, fun and safe environment. These facts are what make Devin’s story such a tragic one…no one saw it coming.
August 6th, 2012 was the second day of Devin’s senior year in high school, and just two weeks away from his 18th birthday. It started out normal enough, but something happened that day that would change everything. There was some verbal taunting to Devin by another student. Always taking the high road, Devin did not give much attention to the other students behavior and went on with his school day. These taunts escalated into shoulder bumping, rude gestures, and threats in the school’s hallways between classes and at lunch. The other student then challenged Devin to fight after school, to which Devin refused. Thinking it would all die down and go away, Devin went home. All was fine until the Facebook posts began . . . brutal verbal attacks were made on Devin for not fighting. Then, the unthinkable happened. An estimated 50 kids descended upon Devin’s home. They were yelling his name, taunting him to come out, climbing on his car, pounding on doors and windows, calling him horrible names. He was home with his younger sister Stephanie, who was as terrified as Devin was. Being the big brother, he tried his best to keep her calm. Devin made several calls for help that day. Twice he phoned the non-emergency police line and twice was put on hold. When asked by his mother why he didn’t dial 911, he said it was because he didn’t think he would need an ambulance, and he didn’t want to cause too much trouble . . . again, always thinking of others. He called the school as well with no luck at first, but was then able to reach a counselor. The counselor told Devin to call the police and made no further follow up or reporting of the incident. The angry crowd finally dispersed and left the premises. When his mother came home and learned of the event, Devin made a statement that will forever echo in her heart. He said “I can’t believe this many people hate me.” Some of the trespassers were what he considered to be friends.
The following day offered no relief from the situation. The Facebook bullying escalated throughout the day. Devin was able to speak personally with a staff member at school, but apparently got no action or support from them. We believe Devin was devastated not only about the bullying, but also by the lack of action from adults. When Devin arrived at home after school on August 7th, 2012, he posted one last comment on Facebook. He told all his friends not to try to call or text him because he had his phone taken away and was grounded. We believe he led people to believe he was inaccessible so that he could carry out his plan uninterrupted. Devin then went into the basement of his house and hanged himself.
Unfortunately, Devin did not leave a note or message as to why he felt he had no other options, so we cannot say with 100% certainty that the bullying event alone caused him to want to end his life. Sadly, there are many unanswered questions, and even more opinions on the matter. We will never know the full extent of things going on in Devin’s heart and mind. But we do know that if the incident had been prevented (which it could have been), or at least the correct action had been taken, Devin might still be here gracing us with his sweet disposition and magnetic smile. One of the saddest and most heartbreaking facts of this story is that even after his death, some of the kids involved continued to post nasty comments on Facebook.
After some investigating by the police, the Facebook bullying was deemed “not cyber-bullying” because it was not what they considered to be on-going. So if the bullying and suicide weren’t enough, now this family must deal with the fact that none of those kids was disciplined or held responsible for their actions in any way, and probably never will be. We as a foundation find this to be unacceptable. No family should ever have to experience this type of thing especially when it is 100% preventable!
Everyone has a story…this one is Devin’s . . . what’s yours? Won’t you please help us take stand against bullying and suicide and support Devin 4 Life today? Thank you for helping us keep Devin’s memory alive and strong!