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CHICAGO (CBS) — At the age of just 15, Nate Bronstein took his own life – after his parents say other students cyberbullied him relentlessly at one of Chicago’s top private schools.
As CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman reported Tuesday night, a social media star heard Nate’s story – and is now launching a campaign to put a stop to bullying in his honor.
The CBS 2 Investigators first told you the Latin School of Chicago did not investigate the bullying, or tell Nate’s parents – despite being required by law and school policy to do so.
Now, Nate’s family say they’re working to make sure what happened to their son at the Latin School won’t happen again – and they’re teaming up with social media star Tristan Jass to do just that.
It started with a story post on Instagram to Jass’ more than 2 million followers. He wrote, “Meet me at Oz Park in Chicago at 4 p.m. today! Big announcement…”
That post indeed brought a crowd to Oz Park in the heart of the Lincoln Park neighborhood. More than 100 teens arrived hoping to shoot hoops with Jass – a content creator best known for his out-there acrobatic layups on social media.
But Jass came to Oz Park – and drew the crowd to come with him – for more than teaching trick shots.
“We’re all gathering here for Nate – and just really trying to put an end to bullying,” Jass said.
As a high school sophomore, Nate was a super-sharp, funny kid; A pillar in their family of five. He was a new transfer last fall to the Latin School of Chicago, at 59 W. North Blvd. in the Gold Coast.
But he was bullied by his classmates to the point that he didn’t want to live to see his future.
“Our son is not here anymore, because nobody reported that he was being attacked and bullied,” Nate’s mother, Rose Bronstein, said at the Oz Park event.
But according to a 68-page lawsuit, the Bronsteins had no idea the extent to which Nate was being cyberbullied. However, they say the Latin School did – including that Nate had reported several students were bullying him via a text message thread provided to the CBS 2 Investigators.
“It’s important to me and my family – my two girls – to hold the administrators and the school accountable,” Rose Bronstein said.
The Bronsteins say Nate’s ‘legacy is to make sure such a thing doesn’t happen again – so they’re launching Justice for Nate, and hoping Jass’ millions of followers hear their message.
That message is, if you see something, say something – it could save a life.
“It’s really important to me to get through to these kids,” said Rose Bronstein.
“If I can take this across the world and use my platform to stop it, I mean, let’s do it,” added Jass. “I’m all in.”
The Bronsteins now say they wish Nate could see the full court at Oz Park packed with his friends – a place where he once played – as well as the internet star he once loved promising to tell his story.
“I wish he could be here today to see how many kids in the neighborhood really, truly love him,” said Rose Bronstein.
Illinois anti-bullying laws are among the strongest in the country. But the Bronsteins say if the schools don’t follow them, they’re pointless.
In a statement, Latin calls the allegations “inaccurate and misplaced.”
If you or someone you know is concerned about suicide, you can contact the 24/7, confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, or go here to online chat. More helpful resources can be found here.