Campaign to end bullying after Roanoke Co. teen commits suicide

Campaign to end bullying after Roanoke Co. teen commits suicide (Image 1)
Campaign to end bullying after Roanoke Co. teen commits suicide (Image 1)

When Roanoke County teenager Max Poff took his own life, it upset people across our area.

Max Poff was just 16-years-old when he committed suicide in February. It’s news his best friend Tristan Aldrich says left him feeling numb.

“I didn’t want to believe it all. I kept pounding my head on the wall saying it’s not real,” friend Tristan Aldrich says.

Aldrich says Poff often talked about being bullied and not being accepted by other classmates. A Facebook page was created for Max with a quote on the top that says, “Stop bullying no one deserves to feel worthless.”

Aldrich says it’s hard to be a student if you’re different, not athletic, or don’t have a lot of money.

“I tried to make him promise me that he wasn’t going to do anything until we could get him help and he didn’t keep that promise,” Aldrich says.

Aldrich’s mother Amanda Saunders says Max was like a second son to her. She has no doubt that bullying played a part in Max choosing to take his own life.

“If you’re having a troubled home life and the people at school are telling you you’re no good, what you wear isn’t good enough, what you like isn’t good enough. If you are sensitive, you read it in your heart and he believed those things people told him,” Amanda Saunders says.

Saunders hopes more parents will sit down and talk to their kids about being kind to each other.

“I think there’s a lot of pressure for kids to have what others have, kids need to be taught to read each other for what’s on the inside not what’s on your body,” Sundays says. “What’s on your body money buys, but what’s in your heart, that’s who you are.”

There’s also a petition called  ‘Stop Bullying at William Byrd.’ It has more than 1,000 signatures.

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