Joel Morales, a 12-year-old boy living in East Harlem gave the bullies lots of ammunition: at 4’9″ he was shorter than most kids his age; he was unusually smart and did better than his peers in school; he was growing up without a Dad. The bullies loved to hate the short, smart kid without a Dad. The only thing Joel knew about his father was that he was now in heaven.
The incessant bullying took its toll as it always does. Joel finally had had enough and like too many victims of bullying, he opted for the ultimate, definitive end to the pain. The twelve-year-old was found hanging from the shower rod in the family bathroom by his Mom, Lisbeth Babilonia.
What Joel didn’t know was that his Dad had also chosen to take his own life when his son was just a few months old. Now Joel’s Mom is mourning two lives taken from her by suicide.
After cutting her son down with a knife, neighbors had to forcibly restrain Lisbeth from using the same knife to end her grief. Uncle Josue said that his sister had lost the “most precious thing in her life.”
Diamond Zaro, 11, who was Joel’s best friend, said that bullies made him cry all the time. “They would bully him…One time, they grabbed his shoes off his feet and ran down the street. It was snowing that day and they made him run after them.”