Leia Pierce said she was proud of her son when he told his fellow classmates he was gay.
"He told me he was going to do it. My daughter told me he did it. I’m proud of him for having the courage," Pierce said in an interview with NBC.
But Pierce said soon after, her daughter told her kids started making fun of him and told him to "kill himself."
"I’m pretty sure he heard some hurtful things he never should have heard," Pierce said.
Jamel Myles, 9, died last Thursday. The manner of death was suicide, according to a coroner's report from the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner. It did not involve a firearm.
Myles was a fourth grader at Shoemaker Elementary in the Denver Public School District and started attending the school last year, Pierce said.
"On his first day of school, he said he wanted to wear fake fingernails, so we went and bought some," Pierce said.
Pierce said she would tell Myles to "relax and that we love him," in response to bullying at school, something Pierce said she believes led to her son ending his life.
"I want everyone, and my son wants everyone, to know we are equals, we’re all supposed to love. If we loved more, it would be easier than hate," Pierce said.
Pierce also said she hopes the children and parents are held responsible.
"The only way to stop bullying is a bigger consequence," Pierce said. "I don’t want this justice for just my son, every child deserves justice."
Pierce said she has tried to contact the school about Myles' death and the bullying. DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg disputed Pierce's claim to 9NEWS, saying neither he nor anyone else at the district was aware of the bullying to his knowledge.
Pierce also said she did not alert the school that Myles was gay.
"I didn’t think I had to call them and tell them my son is gay," she said. "We shouldn’t have to teach our children to hide who they are."
Denver Public Schools released a statement saying it is "deeply committed to ensuring that all members of our school community are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or transgender status."
"Our policies and practices reflect this commitment to ensuring that our LGBTQ+ students can pursue their education with dignity and joy — from training to prevent and stop bullying to policies and guidance materials that fully respect gender identity (including use of preferred pronouns and restrooms).
"We also know, however, that we as a society have a long way to go to ensure that no child ever is bullied or treated with disrespect because of their self-identification," the statement says.
Pierce said she hopes her son's death will help people realize the need to accept each other's differences.
"I just wanted to tell every parent … that their child is magic too," Pierce said. "Every child that is a bully, I want them to look into their heart and find compassion for others. If they’re hurt inside, they can be loved."