By Carol Costello, CNN

Costello: How was he being picked on?
Smalley: He was getting called names. You know, Ty was always pretty small for his age. And he'd get shoved, pushed here and there. ... Victims of bullying don't always tell what's happening. If your child tells you they've been picked on, it's probably about half or less what they've actually faced. ... Ty was getting in more trouble in school this year because of his retaliation. Even though he was a little guy, he liked to stand up for himself. Costello: ... Did you tell Ty to do that? Smalley: Oh yeah, you know we didn't necessarily tell him to knock the kid's eye, but you know, you don't have to teach a kid to take whatever somebody else feels like dishing out. What does that teach them to do? Just be passive all their life and lay down and take it?... Typically, all the parents that have lost children to suicide due to bullying, which they call bullicide -- and when you actually have a name for something, that ought to tell you how bad it's getting. ... The parents I've spoken to, in the past three months have all pretty much said the same thing, you know, their kid got suspended or in trouble for retaliating against the bully. ... A bully gets to pick his time. He gets to look around, see where the teachers are at school, and he gets to pick his time and walk up and do whatever he's going to do to you. Well, the victim, he reacts. The bully does it. The ruckus draws the teacher's eye, the victim retaliates, he gets the flag thrown. Costello: Did you bring this to the attention of teachers? Smalley: Oh yeah, my wife working for the school talked to the principal on numerous occasions. Costello: And what did the principal say? Smalley: Well, we've been told, boys will be boys, on one occasion. It would be looked into ... the problem is, there is not a paper trail. There's not documentation that we ever made a phone call -- or a visit to the office. That's one of the things we'd like to address in new legislation. ... Since Ty's death we've had a lot of his school friends come to us and tell us of many, many instances of things that Ty never told us about -- things that had happened to him, being pushed down and picked on. That he never even mentioned to his mother and I. ... A lot of schools around the country, their answer to bullying is they let the victim leave a little bit early, they let them go home early to get a head start on the bully. ... They take the victim out of their classroom and put them in another class, which draws attention to them even more! You're singling this child out! This child that's been picked on you're singling him out now! Punish the bully! Don't punish the victim. Costello: Was the kid who was bullying Ty ever punished? Smalley: He was given one day suspension. Costello: Nothing else happened? Smalley: No, ma'am. Not to my knowledge. Costello: And how was Ty punished relative to this kid? Smalley: Ty was given three days' suspension. He didn't even serve one. He came home. And he took his own life. Costello: That suspension was the tipping point for him? Smalley: I believe so. He knew that his mom and I would be -- would be disappointed in him for being suspended from school, even though he was suspended because he took up for himself. In my heart I believe that he didn't mean to take his own life. I don't know if I'll ever know what he was thinking. Costello: I know that you said your wife found him. Smalley: Yes ma'am. Costello: I can't imagine Smalley: No ma'am. I got a phone call about 2:38 and she was screaming. And I could not understand a word. And she just screamed and screamed and screamed. ... I finally yelled back at her, what is going on? And I could understand her enough to hear, he's dead. And I said who's dead? And she said ... Ty killed himself ... I told her to call 911. Hang up and call 911. Because at that point I had high hopes that maybe there was something left. And then I called everybody I could to come and be with her as quick as possible. Costello: When did you realize that the reason that Ty committed suicide was because of the bullying at school? Smalley: Pretty much instantly. On my drive home. I knew why he got suspended ... and it really struck home when I spoke with some of Ty's friends. We still don't eat very often like we should. We don't sleep much anymore ... you forget to do a lot of things, but there's one thing you don't forget ... with the suicide you tend to have a lot of anger issues. I had gotten mad at Ty and how can you get mad at your baby that you've just lost? But I have. And I got real mad at him. I'm not mad at him anymore. You get mad at yourself. You go through the "what if," "why didn't I," "I should have," and a friend of mine said you can't go down that way because that path lies madness ... you have to find a way to make something positive out of something so dark and nightmarish. Costello: So, you're fighting for Ty to somehow stop this problem that there doesn't seem to be an answer to yet? Smalley: There's answers out there. ... I don't know what the answers are, but there are people who do. There are people that have the answers. We need to get the world involved. We need to find those people. We need to find that one person that can make a difference. And if we can't find that one, we're going to find 100,000 of them. And we're all going to put our heads together and we're going to come up with a solution ... if you really want to learn what suicide by bullying is all about, talk to the people who are living the nightmare. We haven't done Ty's last load of laundry, because it still smells like him. We haven't washed his sheets because I can go in there and lay on his bed and still smell my boy. You want to learn what bullying and suicide is all about, you talk directly to the people that it affects the most. First and foremost I hold myself completely responsible for what has happened to my son. Ultimately my son's safety rested in my hands. I was responsible for my son's safety. Costello: That's a harsh thing to say about yourself. Smalley: I'm his DAD! ... It's my job to protect him. No matter what. No matter where he was. It was my job to protect him. cnnAuthor = "By Carol Costello, CNN"; // ]]>