SATUS — Staring out her front door onto a frozen landscape, Leslie Stump-Rendon is overcome with emotion and shock.
Eight weeks ago, her youngest son, Quinten Levi Joseph Stump-Rendon, 15, shot himself in his bedroom, just a few steps from where she sits.
She remembers clearly the Friday afternoon when her life changed. Everything seemed normal that afternoon when Quinten stepped off the bus outside his Plank Road home.
“We chatted about the usual things. Then I had to leave with his dad for an appointment,” she forces herself to recall.
“I remember getting a call from one of his teachers saying Quinten was having difficulties in her class.”
“I called Quinten at home and I remember telling him we’d talk about the situation when Joe and I got home,” she mutters, adding those were the last words she spoke to him.
Every day since coming home to that scene, Stump-Rendon has looked for answers.
She struggles to deal with the grief of losing her son to suicide, a suicide she blames on unrelenting acts of bullying by his fellow students at the Granger High School.
Acts, she believes, were never addressed by the school administration.
She struggles to understand why the school administration has not reached out to her. She wonders why it was difficult to get an appointment with the principal to ask about her son’s last days as a sophomore at the school.
“I heard the school events were held to honor Quinten, but no one called me,” she said, shaking her head.
“I met with him once and that was with the help of my mother-in-law Yolanda Bickett that we were able to get a meeting with the principal, vice principal and the school counselor,” she recalled.
That meeting didn’t take place for several weeks after Quinten’s death and for Stump-Rendon was unsatisfactory.
“It felt like they didn’t believe bullying was happening in their school,” she commented.
There is anger mixed with the tears of frustration as she questions if people knew he was being bullied and still did nothing.
Stump-Rendon said Quinten repeatedly told her not to get involved with what was happening at school.
“He’d tell me it wasn’t that bad, even though I told him he needed to let me know what was going on,” she recalled. “But he just said ‘mom, you’ll make it worse.’”
“But I knew things weren’t right and I tried to talk with him about it.”
“He told me he would go see the school counselor. I don’t know if he did.”
Stump-Rendon only began hearing about how bad her son’s bullying was, after her son’s death was known in the community. “I started getting calls from his friends.”
“They told me about the bullying Quinten was enduring at school. They told me he was called names, nasty names, and he was slapped around and even suffering having his hair pulled.”
In his own defense, he cut his hair very short, but that only led to his being punched more, the friends reportedly told Stump-Rendon.
“I don’t know if Quinten ever reported anything about those incidents to teachers. If so, were the people involved talked too? I don’t know if anything happened to address the bullying.
“I just know my son is dead,” she sighed.
The other question not answered is whether there were other cases of bullying in the Granger Schools? Are other students afraid to come forward?
Was the school districts policy on bullying, hazing, harassment and intimidation ever applied to Quinten’s situation?
School officials have said all the post death of a student actions were taken, including bringing in of grief counselors. There is even an effort underway to add suicide prevention education training to the district’s policies. But what will that look like?
It’s a question Stump-Rendon wants answered but for now all she can do is stare out her front door and grieve that her boy will not be home again.