An 11-year-old boy took his own life in his bedroom after telling his mother he was being bullied at the Bradford school he joined three weeks earlier, a family friend has claimed.
Asad Khan died shortly after he was found unresponsive at his home in Tile Street, Bradford, on Wednesday night, police confirmed.
Former Bradford councillor Ishtiaq Ahmed said: “He came across as a very confident young man so he must have been experiencing real issues at school for him to take the action that he did.
“Family members tell me he told his mum he was having problems at school before he took his own life. The whole community - the whole city - is in shock.”
Mr Ahmed, who has a 10-year-old son, is calling on the Government to introduce “more robust” bullying policies that filter down into local government.
He said: “There needs to be a proactive approach to bullying, not just a reactive one. We need a well-being officer in every school.
“One life lost is one life too many.”
Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah said bullying was “something that has been mentioned” when she visited Asad’s grieving parents at their home.
Ms Shah said: “The family are absolutely distraught and absolutely devastated.
“One of the people that was there - an aunt - mentioned the word bullying. We don’t know whether it was bullying. We don’t know whether it was an accident. We do know he has taken his own life.
“Whilst we are still trying to establish the facts, it’s clear that a conversation has to be had whether children going from the sanctuary of primary school to a big school have enough pastoral care.”
Asad started Year 7 at Beckfoot Upper Heaton School three weeks ago, headteacher Simon Wade said.
A statement on the school’s website said: “It is with great sadness that we learnt last night of the death of Asad Khan, one of the school’s newest students.
“The school is united in its grief at this sad time.
“The school community is working together as students, parents and staff come to terms with these events. All our thoughts are with Asad’s family at this terribly difficult time.”
West Yorkshire Police said inquiries were continuing, but the youngster’s death was not thought to be suspicious.
In a further statement Mr Wade added: “The school is aware of speculation about the circumstances surrounding Asad’s death. In Asad’s first three weeks at school he made a great impression on all who met him.
“He was doing well in lessons, scoring high marks for his attitude to learning and his positive approach to school life and the school was looking forward to a bright future for him.”
A man who said he was Asad’s cousin, but did not wish to be named, told the Press Association the 11-year-old had been bullied.
He added: “He was always full of energy he loved his science, he used to make little lights and play around with circuits.
“As a person he was just like any other 11-year-old kid - full of life and was ready for school.”