By Forrest Sanders
GORDONSVILLE, TN - A Gordonsville boy's parents say bullying caused their son to take his own life. Phillip Parker, 14, died this week. His parents said he was constantly bullied for being gay.
More than 100 people gathered in Gordonsville on Saturday night, grieving the loss of Phillip.
"He was fun, he was energetic, he was happy," said Gena Parker, Phillip's mother.
To his many friends, Phillip was known as the boy who told everyone they're beautiful.
"He kept telling me he had a rock on his chest," said Ruby Harris, Phillip's grandmother. "He just wanted to take the rock off where he could breathe."
Phillip's family said they reported their concerns over their son's bullying to Gordonsville High School on multiple occasions, but the bullying by a group of students just got worse.
"I believe my whole family up in heaven's taking good care of him," said friend Megan Redinger.
"I want to say I love him dearly," added friend Heather Hunt. "He'll never be forgotten. He's always in my heart."
"That's my son," said Phillip Parker, Phillip's father. "I love him. I miss him. He shouldn't have had to kill himself to be brought to life."
An official with Smith County Schools told Channel 4 they are now planning how to handle a crisis situation with students Monday. Friends added they are planning to set up a memorial fund in Phillip's name but haven't made the arrangements just yet.
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