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Policy on bullying eyed after 12-year-old hangs himself

Andy Leach, poses at an auto race near Southaven, Miss.

Andy Leach was a silly 12-year-old boy with a contagious smile before relentless bullying pushed him to kill himself, his father says. | Matthew Leach via AP

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — A month has passed since a 12-year-old boy hanged himself after being bullied at school in Mississippi.

While Andy Leach’s family waits for answers, experts say the school district’s bullying policy lacks key elements, such as written consequences for bullies and detailed support for victims.

Matthew Leach said the bullying escalated after Andy said he might be bisexual. Leach says he complained to Southaven Middle School but heard nothing more after a counselor sat down with Andy and another student.

Only after his son’s death did he learn that the bullying got worse after that. Police and school officials say they can’t discuss it, but bullying expert Michael Sulkowski says making the victim and bully meet this way can “add fuel to the fire.”