Vigil planned at school board meeting after Willard teen commits suicide

A quest to turn grief into action
(file photo, Source: WOIO)
(file photo, Source: WOIO)

WILLARD, OH (WOIO) - Caleb Hershiser, 14, committed suicide April 2. A vigil, as well as a protest, were expected at Monday's school board meeting in Willard.

The family alleges that the school system knew, but did nothing, about the bullying that they say led to Caleb's suicide. In fact, they put up a billboard saying "Bullying Must Stop."

Caleb's mother Anna explained through tears details of the tragedy.

She says everybody except Caleb had gone upstairs for bed. A bit earlier his little sister and father heard a noise. Thinking nothing of it, his father Robert went downstairs to get Caleb to come to bed. He discovered the sound they had heard was gunfire.

Caleb had shot himself.

His dad rushed back upstairs to get his wife, Caleb's mother, Anna who was fast asleep. Shaken and dazed, she called 911.

"It's beyond heartbreak," she said. "The feeling, the emptiness ... the questions, the guilt. Just everything overwhelms your heart all at the moment. You can't stand, you can't breathe, you can't do anything."

Caleb, his mother said, had been bullied for a long time at school.

"He'd come home and tell us about mean kids at school and that this happened and that that happened but he never ever in his life had a harsh word to say about nobody," she said.

Hoping to help others understand the tragedy and sense of loss Caleb's family feels, Anna planned to attend the Monday vigil to draw attention that, too often, bullying leads to someone young killing him or her self.

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