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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Parents: Bullying led to son's suicide

Parents: Bullying led to son's suicide

Garyn Strong

An investigation is ongoing in relation to the death of Garyn Strong, a 15-year-old Galliano teenager, who apparently took his own life Friday night.

His parents, Thad and Maureen Strong, said bullies have been tormenting their son for the past four years. He opened up to them in the last six months about it.

"They took away my buddy, my fishing partner, my hunting partner, my son," said Thad.

Maureen said bullies said hateful and cruel things to her son and threatened on a regular basis.

“There were gay slurs, which Garyn didn’t approve of them calling him something that he was not,” said Maureen. “They would also call him fat and tease him.”

The Strongs say they brought the bullying to the attention of officials at South Lafourche High School where Garyn attended.

“This boy kept saying I’m going to beat you down, I’m going to beat you down,” said Thad. “He couldn’t go anywhere. He couldn’t do anything.”

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office confirms it is conducting an investigation into the bullying allegations.

“Garyn’s gone,” said Maureen. “They are going to go on to somebody else and we don’t want that to happen.”

The Strongs are on a crusade to stop bullying. They want to bring awareness to parents and students about the seriousness of it. They are planning to set up a foundation in Garyn's name to teach parents and young people about the consequences of bullying.

"If their grades start dropping quick and they just keep on saying I hate school, I hate school, I hate school, there’s something going wrong in that school," said Thad Strong.

Friends and family have organized a fundraiser from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, January 26 at the Cut Off Youth Center to help with funeral expenses. Live music will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Plate lunches, sweets and soft drinks will be sold to help with funeral costs.

Those who would like to donate food items or help with serving are asked to arrive a half-hour prior to the event. Area musicians are invited to play at the event in honor of Garyn.

Maureen said that in the last few days several people have told her that their own children are speaking up about being bullied.

"One word that's inappropriate can crush somebody's soul," said Maureen Strong. “The bullying needs to stop. It’s an epidemic that’s not just local or national, it’s worldwide.”