10-Year-Old Killed Himself After Being Relentlessly Bullied, Dad Says: Now Family Fights for Change

10-Year-Old Killed Himself After Being Relentlessly Bullied, Dad Says: How His Family Fights for Change

“This can’t be fixed. So I have to create something to fix it for others”

One Saturday earlier this month, 10-year-old Sammy Teusch attended his big brothers’ soccer game. There, he pointed out a young student to his dad — one of multiple children who had been tormenting him. The next morning, Sammy took his own life.

“Sammy loved life more than anybody I’d ever known. Why did he take his own? How do I answer that question?” his father, Sam Teusch, reflects emotionally. “It makes no sense. None.”

In the two weeks since Sammy’s tragic death, found by his 13-year-old brother Xander, the family has grappled with an unbearable sorrow. Yet, they strive to prevent such heartache for others.

“This can’t be fixed,” says Teusch, 47, who is a corporate director for engineering at MHG Hotels. “So I have to create something to fix it for others.”

He is urging people to sign a petition for Congress to legislate stronger anti-bullying measures nationwide and is vocal about this mission.

“I want to talk,” Teusch states. “Parents who have faced this tragedy often stop talking about it. That’s part of the problem. … We need to fix this world through our children.”

Despite his intentions, the sadness of losing his son lingers profoundly, making it hard to stay positive.

“How do you do that in a situation like this?” he asks. “This is never going to be a positive situation unless we make it so.”

‘He was a gift’

Sammy was the youngest of nine children in a large, blended family.

“When we met, she had three and I had two,” Teusch says of his 49-year-old wife Nichole. Together, they also have 13-year-old twin boys, Oliver and Xander; an 11-year-old daughter, Scarlett; and their youngest, Sammy. Sammy was a fourth grader who loved playing soccer, fishing, and leading family trash clean-ups during beach trips and nature hikes.

“He was a gift,” Teusch describes his son, referring to Sammy as an “adventurer” who “loved it all.”

Sadly, Sammy began facing relentless bullying after moving to Greenfield, Indiana, from Pensacola, Florida, in 2022. Being smaller in size, he quickly became a target.

Teusch encouraged his son to be compassionate towards others, even those who bullied him. “I told him, ‘Just turn the other cheek,’” his dad recalls. School interventions offered temporary relief, but the bullying always resumed.

When Sammy got glasses in spring 2022, the bullying escalated. Excited about his new glasses, Sammy returned home disheartened. “He said, ‘I’m never wearing these things again. Today was horrible,’” his dad recounts. “They tore him apart at school and on the bus.”

Teusch notes that Sammy would hide under desks and lock himself in bathrooms. The school treated Sammy as a discipline problem rather than realizing he was hiding from torment.

(The Greenfield school district referred queries to the superintendent, who did not respond to requests for comment on Sammy’s death or the bullying claims.)

According to Teusch, the bullying wasn’t just about Sammy’s size or looks. Kids also mocked his mother, who works as a custodian at the local middle school. “That was a hundred thousand times worse than name-calling,” Teusch says. “He would stand up for her: ‘You don’t talk about my mommy.’”

Older children would call Sammy names and chase him down hallways. In one incident, a child cornered Sammy in a bathroom, insulted his sister, and threatened him.

Another time, a bully hit Sammy with an iPad, causing cuts and bruises that his parents documented. Despite his injuries, Sammy faced school punishment for hiding or defending himself.

“Kids today are scared to help their friends due to fear of punishment,” Teusch says. Although he taught his kids to be compassionate, he now struggles with that philosophy.

‘I’m getting you’

Sammy died on Sunday, May 5.

The day before, at a soccer game, Sammy pointed out one of the bullies to his dad. Encouraged to stand up to the bully with his father’s support, Sammy decided not to confront him.

That evening, the family enjoyed a barbecue and marshmallows. Everyone was happy, unaware of what would follow.

Sammy’s sister received threatening calls from the bully targeting Sammy, saying, “You wait until Monday. I’m getting you,” creating a night filled with dread for Sammy.

That night, Sammy played video games with his brother Xander and both fell asleep on the couch. The next morning, during breakfast preparations, Sammy expressed a desire for pancakes. Teusch went to the store, and upon returning, asked Xander to fetch Sammy from his room.

Xander’s discovery of Sammy’s lifeless body resulted in screams of, “Sammy’s dead, Sammy’s dead.”

Teusch called 911 and tried resuscitating Sammy to no avail. Paramedics tried but ultimately confirmed Sammy had passed.

Teusch clarified that Sammy did not die by firearm, dispelling rumors and securing clarity on his son’s tragic death. The Greenfield police and coroner’s investigation remains open.

Police Chief Brian Hartman acknowledges the tragedy, recognizing the profound sadness that drives young children to consider such irreversible actions amidst societal blame. “It’s devastating that a 10-year-old even knows how to end their own life.”

‘He’s forever going to be 10’

The Teusch family laid Sammy to rest on Wednesday. His absence is deeply felt. A GoFundMe has raised over $60,000 to support them during this tough time.

On Mother’s Day, Sammy’s friends brought flowers to Nichole. Sammy’s bench, refurbished by his dad, awaits signatures of his siblings — a planned gift to their mother that now stands incomplete under “Sammy’s Tree.”

“I love him. He’s forever going to be 10,” his dad mourns.

As Sammy’s story resonates nationwide, Teusch reflects, “A few million people who hadn’t known him now do. There’s a lot of love for Sammy.”