Alexander (AJ) Betts, a 16-year-old gay teen, took his own life over the weekend, becoming the fifth student from a suburban Des Moines, Iowa, high school to do so in the past five years.
His mother, Sheryl Moore, is hoping her son’s story will put an end to the bullying that she said ended his life.
“It must have been really horrible, if my son got to the point where he would hurt my husband, my daughters and I to take his own life,” said Moore.
Moore told KCCI-TV that she will never know exactly how horrible the bullying was. She said AJ kept a tough exterior and a smile on his face, despite what she is now learning from his friends as they pay their respects.
“We had no indication that anything was wrong. He is the happiest kid I’ve ever met. Everybody who meets him says that,” said Moore.
“About a year and a half ago, AJ was outed as gay at Southeast Polk High School. Everyone got a long with my son very well until they found out he was gay,” she said.
Moore said AJ was constantly ridiculed not only for being gay, but also because he was half African-American and was born with a cleft lip.