Durban - A Grade 7 boy from Newcastle committed suicide last week, allegedly after being stripped of his prefect’s badge.

Ashley Devsaran, 12, a pupil at Newcastle Senior Primary School, hanged himself with his school tie in his room on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to The Mercury, Ashley’s mother, Charlotte Devsaran, said the family would take legal action against the school.

She said the badge was removed after the boy failed to correctly complete a mathematics sum on the board, and the principal was called by the teacher to the classroom.

“My son was a sensitive young man, so he was obviously distraught. On the way home he told his sister, who is 9, about the incident and she reported to me when they got home,” the distraught mother said.

Ashley allegedly told his sister “he was so hurt and just wanted to die”, but Devsaran did not take the threat seriously, thinking he was just speaking out of anger.

Although Devsaran was able to get Ashley down from where he was hanging while he was still alive, he died in the intensive care unit of Mediclinic Newcastle the next day.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education expressed shock at Ashley’s death and said it would investigate what had happened.

“We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the Devsaran family. The cause of his death remains speculative at the moment, but we promise to do a thorough investigation and take appropriate action once we’ve fully established what happened,” said education spokesman Muzi Mahlambi.

Attempts to get comment from Newcastle Senior Primary School on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Devsaran described her son as a loving and caring person who adored his little sister.

“My child is traumatised for life and has not been able to go to her brother’s room since she found him. She can’t even sleep on her own. The whole family is shattered by Ashley’s passing, but she’s taking it harder than all of us.”

Ashley was cremated on Saturday. Some of his teachers and peers attended his funeral.

The police have confirmed the incident and an inquest has been opened.

The Mercury