HUNTSVILLE, AL -- A teen’s death is sparking a conversation as his residential community mourns.
Huntsville High School freshman Nigel Shelby died by suicide on April 18, WHNT news reports. The 15-year-old's death sparked a conversation about supporting children and teens who identify as LGBTQ+.
Family members told WHNT that Nigel was often the victim of homophobic bullying.
In a statement to parents, Huntsville High Principal Aaron King said, “Many students have been affected by this news. Teachers and specially trained counselors have talked with students about Nigel and their feelings. Please be sensitive to any changes in your child’s behavior. Over the next few days, encourage your child to express his or her feelings and listen attentively.”
He also encouraged parents to recognize various steps of the grieving process and to support their students through it.
The school’s PTA posted on their Facebook page, “Know and be aware of changes in your child. Talk to them about what they see, words they speak and actions they can take to make a difference. We must be better.”
After news of Nigel’s death spread, various celebrities and blogs began posting about him. Atlanta model and actress Eva Marcille posted a picture of him on Instagram saying “#RestInPowerNigelShelby 🌈 All my love to this babies family. We must spread more love!!! 🌻🌻🌻”
In another post she said “#NigelShelby I am literally heartbroken over this. What a beautiful Baby. This world can be so evil sometimes. We have to fight hate with love🌻. All of my love and prayers to you @longlivenigelshelby🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 #restinpowernigelshelby 🌈
A fundraiser set up for funeral expenses raised more than its goal of $26,000 in just three days.
His death has sparked a conversation about kindness, empathy and the role parents and school employees play in teaching and enforcing the rules around those actions.
Nigel’s funeral will be at the Serenity Funeral Home on University Drive NW in Huntsville, AL on Friday April 26.
STORIES OF HOPE