Drayke Hardman: Utah Death After Bullying Raises Awareness

drayke hardman

GoFundMe Drayke Hardman

Drayke Hardman was a 12-year-old Utah boy who died by suicide after being bullied. His mother and other loved ones are urging people to teach kindness and combat bullying in memory of the boy his mother described in a Facebook post as a youth who “had a fire that lit for people.”

“My heart aches for this family and for that sweet boy who endured so much pain. I couldn’t stop crying after reading about Drayke. This was preventable…..there is no place for bullying! Sending prayers to this family,” a woman wrote on the GoFundMe page for the family.

A woman who shared the GoFundMe page on Facebook wrote, “DO IT FOR DRAYKE! Many of you have heard the gut wrenching story of this young boy taking his own life due to bullying. His parents plead for us to teach our children the damages of bullying and that it’s not okay.”

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Drayke’s Mom Samie Jo Urges People to ‘Teach Kindness’

Drayke’s mom Samie Jo Hardman has been sharing her heartbreak on Facebook, along with a strong anti-bullying message.

She shared photos of Drayke in his hospital bed, writing,

This…. This is the result of bullying, my handsome boy was fighting a battle that not even I could save him. It is real, it is silent and there is nothing absolutely nothing as a parent you can do to take this deep hurt away. There are no signs, only hurtful words of others that ultimately stole OUR Drayke from this cruel place.

He was 12…. 12 years old. How does a 12 year old who was so knowingly fiercely loved by everyone think that life is so hard he needs to take himself from it.. 💔💔💔

This boy knew love, every single day of his life, he was our world, my world, his dads world, his sisters world… we revolved around this boy.. To know Drayke was to love him, he had a fire that lit for people, his witty personality and those baby blue eyes won over the world. He is my boy, the one person that at any given point would just stop and give me a hug, tell me 100384849 times a day “Mom, I just Love you”, my basketball and JAZZ obsessed. He always told his dad and Sisters he was going to be the shortest NBA star, so he could team up with Donovan Mitchell and they could conquer basketball..

Well Buddy, you are my saving grace, you are daddy’s hunting guide, and you are now the forever protectors of your big sisters.. I’m not sure how to navigate this life without you. I was suppose to spend the rest of my life with you, and instead you spent the rest of yours with me.

My heart is shattered, I don’t know how to fix it, or if I ever will, but I will spend every minute teaching kindness in the memory of my favorite dude. His purpose here was to teach kindness, to show love that and he absolutely did, he took anyone in as a friend so that they had one. Once you were In Drayke’s tribe you were there forever.

I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for my people, for the calls, the texts, all the messages. I try to respond, I do but I don’t know how right now. I will say hold you babies, hold them tight. Teach them to live and to love fierce. Teach Kindness and #doitfordrayke

“One whole week of missing you seems like forever, and yet I still have forever to go.. My heart is at peace my little love knowing that you are still making your mark on the world! We will somehow be ok, give Grandma the biggest hug for me, and tell her to Love you hard. ‘Be Careful’ My sweet boy! 💜Mom,” she wrote.

She shared photos and video showing Drayke playing with his dog and with family members.

She wrote, “…Drayke chose me, to protect him. I protected him as long as he let me. He chose our family so that he could make us better, that he did. This boy LOVED SO HARD from the day he took his first breath to his last. If he knew the impact he is making on the world right now he would smile, his beautiful blue eyes would light.”

2. The GoFundMe Page Is Raising Money for Drayke’s Funeral Expenses

A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $144,000 for Drayke’s funeral expenses.

A man named Nate Eye organized the campaign.

“Hi my name is Nate Eye. My dear friend Samie recently lost her son Drayke in a tragic accident that took his life. I know many of you know Samie and her family, and the positive impact they have had on this community. Please donate if you can to help cover Draykes funeral expenses. I know she could use some help from us,” he wrote on the GoFundMe page.”

One man donated $3,000, writing,

My heart was broken into a thousant pieces as I read about Drayke. You 12 year old wonderful child with the whole life ahead of you! As a father of four, this is a reminder on how fragile life is and how cruel the world can be. My thoughts to Drayke and his family as they are going through this horrible time and I hope this contribution can honor Draykes memory.

3. Drayke’s Parents Say The School Suspended the Classmate Who Was Bullying Drayke

Samie and Andrew Hardman, Drayke’s parents, spoke to a local television station about the bullying their son faced.

According to KUTV, they “confronted the problem,” involved the school, and the school even suspended the classmate who was bullying Drayke.

They spoke with him about his feelings and asked him whether he had suicide thoughts, the television station reported.

“He said, ‘no, no,’ and it was almost like he was disgusted that I would have even asked him,” Drayke’s mom told KUTV. At one point, he came home with a black eye, she said. He lied about how he got it, but a sibling told them details. “snitches get stitches,” Drayke told them.

He then took his own life in the family home, according to KUTV.

4. A Local Band Shared a Heartbreaking Video of Drayke With Loved Ones

The Wayne Hoskins band also shared the GoFundMe, writing on Facebook:

Again- our sweet friend lost her son this week. Sweet, 12 yr old Drayke.

Please help us in taking any of the financial burden off of this family’s shoulders. Contribute to this fund for Drayke’s mother, father, his sisters and their family. Bullying is often overlooked, or excused. It starts with being aware. Aware of our own children whether they be struggling from being belittled or being aware that our own kids may be the ones that are doing the damage…Our song The Light of Brooklyn, we dedicate to this family and to sweet Drayke.

According to KUTZ, members of the Utah Jazz team also reached out to the family.

5. About 20 Percent of Students Ages 12-18 Have Experienced Bullying

According to StopBullying.gov, “about 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying nationwide.”

The site gives these statistics.

Students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied said they thought those who bullied them:
Had the ability to influence other students’ perception of them (56%).
Had more social influence (50%).
Were physically stronger or larger (40%).
Had more money (31%).

The site added: “Nationwide, 19% of students in grades 9–12 report being bullied on school property in the 12 months prior to the survey.”

The site cautioned, “The relationship between bullying and suicide is complex. The media should avoid oversimplifying these issues and insinuating or directly stating that bullying can cause suicide. The facts tell a different story. It is not accurate and potentially dangerous to present bullying as the ’cause’ or ‘reason’ for a suicide, or to suggest that suicide is a natural response to bullying.” In Hardman’s case, his parents have attributed his death to bullying.

You can find more anti-bullying resources and facts on that site here.

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