SUTTON (CBS) – You’d be hard pressed to find a sentence as crushing as the first one in Connor Tronerud’s obituary.
It reads: “Connor Francis Tronerud, 15 took his own life after struggling with bullying from peers.”
“I wanted people to know the truth,” Connor’s mother Theresa said.
Connor’s mom and dad say he was an innocent kid. Still played with Pokémon cards. He loved ultimate Frisbee and hugs.
“Every morning he would come up behind me and give me a big bear hug and that was how the day started every day,” Theresa said.
On the morning of December 4th Connor got ready for school at the family’s Sutton home, but there was a mix up. His carpool ride never came and he stayed home.
“He emailed his teachers that day, that morning and asked his teachers to send his assignments,” Theresa said. “It wasn’t the plan for the day.”
Connor was still in his school clothing when he took his own life.
“It was a completely shocking unexpected event that I just said goodbye just that morning and never saw him again,” Connor’s dad Jason Tronerud said.
They don’t know what happened that morning, but what they do know is that 12 months earlier their son was being bullied by classmates at Marianapolis Prep School over the border in Connecticut.
Kids took old online pictures of Connor from the summer camp affiliated with the school and shared them in a tidal wave of group texts.
“He’s doing his homework and his phone is buzzing, buzzing, buzzing, buzzing,” Theresa recalls.
“It was systematic,” Jason said. “It was as though there was a group of people with the numbers of texts that he was receiving that were making it a game. To psychologically torment my son.”
Marianapolis Prep hired a law firm to do a review of its handling of Connor’s case. The review says the school met with Connor and alerted teachers that a student was being bullied.
It says Connor gave them a name but does not mention any discipline. A couple months later. Connor’s mom told the school she thought it was happening again.
The school says Connor wouldn’t talk, and told WBZ, “While we wish we could have intervened more, Connor was a very private person and did not reveal the extent to which he was struggling.”
“Why didn’t you do anything, why?” Theresa asks.
The Tronerud’s lawyer is also questioning the school’s response. “There is a lot of evidence that they knew that he was in a lot of distress and they didn’t do enough,” said attorney Wendy Murphy.
Connor’s parents believe, though they don’t yet have proof, that Connor was getting bullying texts again on the morning of his suicide.
“One last text message that was too much. One last image that he couldn’t take,” Jason said.
Connor erased everything on his phone so the Tronerud’s are now hoping the district attorney will be able to get the content of his messages.
In the meantime, they hope kids will hear Connor’s story and think about the power of a text.
“Our hope is that by talking about this more and more is that parents will sit down with their kids and have a frank conversation with them. Look this really does happen. This is the worst possible outcome. And do you think twice about pushing that button.”
Connor’s mom and dad have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for bullying prevention and education.