We’re learning more about the sudden death of a Branchdale teen earlier this month.
Fourteen-year-old Carter Larkin-Kukta took his own life at the age of 14 on January 13, 2020. He was laid to rest earlier this week.
And according to a social media post purportedly from a family friend, we know that Carter was the victim of bullying. The post is going viral on Facebook right now. Thousands are sharing it and offering their sympathies and sharing their bullying stories.
Now, the parents and friends of Carter ask the public to refrain from sympathies and condolences. Instead, they say it’s time to take action against bullying.
We know that bullying happens in every school. You don’t have to search too hard to find a family with a child that’s living their lives in fear of a bully. And in every case that we’ve read or heard directly, it’s the “adults” in charge that fail to get ahead of the situation and take swift action.
Parents of Bullied Branchdale Teen Plead for Awareness and Change
Rather than action taken in their defense, the bullied often get the brush-off. That’s what happened to Carter.
Here’s the message family friend Ken Eckert Jr. posted on behalf of Carter’s parents.
Eckert writes in his introduction to the message:
I would like to share that we are in the process of having a custom sticker on my racecar this year, in memory of a very special young man, Carter Larkin-Kukta. Carter was the son of a long time good friend of my wife and I, Trish Larkin and Mike Kukta. Please take a moment to read about Carter below, written by his parents for us. It is not only heartbreaking, but powerful.
The Canary reached out to Eckert for permission to share this post. Here’s what Carter’s parents wrote:
Carter was a 14 year old kind and caring, smart, special needs boy. His passion for electrical and mechanical projects showed by the age of 2. He was actively involved in Boy Scouts, trap shooting, riding his ATV and he enjoyed hunting. He loved animals and didn’t care about the latest styles. He watched cartoons and read books based on them. He was looking forward to an upcoming Scout trip and VoTech next year.
Carter had the full support of his family in every aspect of his life. He chose to spend money on various types of light bulbs, electrical equipment and trap shooting items. He was only 14, but he already had a car. He spent his time with his family, his scout troop, and his trap team. He made an impact on the lives of everyone that truly knew him.
He was happy, except in one aspect of his life: School. Carter was bullied since 5th grade by a group of boys because he loved his pets; because he watched a “girly” cartoon; and because name brand clothes and shoes were the least of his concerns. These boys were “talked to” on multiple occasions but they were just “kids being kids”. The “talking to” only made the bullying worse. Carter would talk to us but he stopped giving names, for his own sake. He knew we couldn’t go in to the school without a name. We begged him to hit them, just once, but he was a rule follower. On Monday, January 13, 2020, after almost four years of this, our son ended his torment.
We don’t want your sympathies and condolences. We want awareness and change. Teach your children to be kind; to stick up for each other. Hold bullies accountable for their actions. We can’t save our son but we want to save the next family from experiencing this terrible pain.
According to Carter’s obituary, in his short time here on Earth, he was a busy kid definitely with an eye on the future. And it’s clear he had a passion for the things that interested him. He was a member of Boy Scout Troop 600, Llewellyn, the Williams Valley Trap Team and Muddy Creek Sportsman Club.