Tennessee Boy Commits Suicide After Being Outed on Social Media

by Sam Cronin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday September 30, 2019

A family in Coffee County, Tennessee is hurting after their 16-year-old son killed himself last weekend. Channing Smith, a junior at Coffee County Central High School, ended his life after he found out that sexually explicit instant messages between him and another boy from his school were leaked by another classmate. The messages reportedly outed him as bisexual, according to his family.

According to Smith's older brother Joshua, "They did it to just completely humiliate and embarrass my brother. Being in a small, rural town in the middle of Tennessee, you can imagine being the laughing stock and having to go to school Monday morning."

"He couldn't face the humiliation that was waiting on him when he got to school on Monday, so he shot and killed himself,"

Channing's father reportedly found his son's body in his bedroom at 4 a.m., Monday, September 23, when he was concerned that the light was still on so late.

BuzzFeed reports: "Channing allegedly got into an argument with another teenager who is close friends with the boy whom he had messaged with. According to Keylee Duty, a junior at the school, the girl was mad that she didn't know about the sexting and posted the screenshots to be vindictive. 'She was just doing it to be mean,' said Keylee, who started a group called Justice for Channing and helped organize a memorial for her classmate."


District Attorney Craig Northcott told the Smith family it would take at least 30 days to decide whether he will press charges. Earlier this year Northcott received criticism on his stance on LGBTQ issues for not recognizing gay marriage and saying he won't prosecute same-sex domestic violence cases.

Joshua Smith had a message for parents, saying to Fox: "No matter what, make sure your kids know that they're the number one priority in your life and that nothing, no choice, nothing that they could do could ever separate them from your love. This way there's not as much shame and guilt on anything going on in the kid's life that they would hesitate to come talk to you about."

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