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PEEKSKILL, N.Y. — A heartbroken father tried to turn sorrow into action at a packed board of education meeting in New York Tuesday night after his 10-year-old son took his own life last week.
At an emotional and fiery board of education meeting in Peekskill, New York on Tuesday night, 10-year-old Lukas Illescas’ father held up the picture of his son to the board he accuses of negligence.
“Look. Look. You didn’t have time. Five minutes? I don’t know how you can sleep. I don’t know how,” he said.
Lukas Illescas was a happy, engaging, energetic boy, who loved his family and his life at home.
“He was waking up 5:30 in the morning every day to give me a kiss before I go to work. When I was coming, he was waiting for me at the station; he loved to swim,” Illescas’ father said.
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But at school this year, Illescas’ father said his son was relentlessly bullied by one particular child, so badly that he begged not to have to go.
“We had to call the police one time,” the father said. “He said, ‘please I don’t want to go to school, I don’t want to go to school.'”
Terrified by the prospect of another day of bullying, last week, Illescas took his own life. His father said he had tried to get the school to intercede, but they would not, at least not effectively. So many in the district said they had similar experiences.
Illescas’ father just wants change.
“I have nothing to lose; my son is gone, so all I want right now is justice for other kids,” he said.
If you are experiencing suicidal, substance use or other mental health crises please call or text the new three-digit code at 988. You will reach a trained crisis counselor for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also go to 988lifeline.org.