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Local teen bullied, dies by suicide

German Aramburo-Guzman dies by suicide after being bullied at school.
Photo credit:
gofundme.com

A Logan Heights family is mourning the loss of 14-year-old German Aramburo-Guzman who died by suicide earlier this month after he complained of excessive bullying at his school.

"He had such a big heart.  He was always joking and laughing ... We are heartbroken," Katrina Guzman, German’s aunt, told ABC 10 News. 

The tormented teen was in the ninth grade and attending King Chavez Community High School, a downtown charter school.

The young man told his family he was being bullied since school restarted back in August.

"It was verbally, through Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and an anonymous messaging app. He was taunted over homophobic slurs. Kids would make fun of him, the way he looked, the way acted," said Guzman.    

German’s aunt says he wasn’t gay and he never pinpointed who exactly was picking on him at school because he didn’t want to make the situation worse. 

But eventually, the torment got so bad German’s mom went to the school on November 9 to meet with a school official who said German would be paired with a counselor.

The aunt says the mother left, “with no answer on how they were going to address the bullying."

A week passed, and on November 16 the counselor called the family to report yet another incident but gave few details according to Guzman.

Only a few hours after that phone call the teenager had died by suicide, the family learned that German had also attempted to harm himself at school.

"All of our family did all we could to make our nephew/grandson feel loved," the family writes on their GoFundMe page. "The bullying /cyberbullying he endured from his class peers is absolutely heartbreaking. No child should ever have to go through what our beloved German had to. Our family is deeply saddened ,but we will be the voice for German and speak up against suicide and bullying."

Guzman feels the school should have been more forthcoming about the details of the bullying and done something more to stop it.

"Schools need better protocols to stop this. Innocent lives are being lost because kids feel like there is no hope for them," said Guzman.

A spokesperson for the school issued the following statement:

"This has been a painful event for the whole King-Chavez neighborhood of schools and more specifically for our King-Chavez Community High School and the larger community which we serve. Although the details are obviously private and confidential information at the King-Chavez Community High School, multiple interventions and communications have been and continue to be made since we received information regarding the student.

This included intervention by administration, mental health staff three times a week, and assistance from the San Diego Police PERT organization.

We are concerned about cyber-bullying and the anonymous social network apps which protect the identity of the users. In this age of advancing social media technology, we continue to refine our policy and education for staff and students regarding cyber use and bullying."

GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with funeral costs.