Grieving father seeks answers from Marysville School District
Jason and Kelley Goddard’s teenage son Wesley had always exhibited a happy-go-lucky attitude to his mom and dad.
The Marysville-Pilchuck High School student was an avid athlete, having wrestled for the past 10 years, and was close with his family.
“He smiled all the time, he took a hug every time I gave it to him,” Jason told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “He said ‘I love you’ often and regularly.”
But on Oct. 1, Wesley took his own life while his parents were out of town for a day.
At first, his parents, devastated, and overwhelmed by grief, assumed that their son’s death was a tragic accident. After all, Wesley had put food in the microwave right before the suicide, and had asked his parents if he could take a girl to a football game that night. None of those actions seemed like those of a person who knew he was about to die.
“For the first month, we just thought it might have just been an accident,” Jason said. “We didn’t know of any mental illness; he’d never spoken of taking his life.”
However, just before Thanksgiving, Wesley’s friends came to the Goddard family home with a startling confession. Wesley had chosen to end his own life after rampant bullying had made his school days a living nightmare.
A few weeks before Wesley’s death, a football player had allegedly threatened Wesley and the entire Goddard family if he ever came near the player or his girlfriend. The incident had alarmed the Goddards, and they had visited the principal’s office to settle the matter.
“The boy was reprimanded, told to stay away from my son,” Jason explained. He added that Wesley accepted the player’s apology because he “didn’t want him to get in trouble.”
Throughout the next week, Wesley told his dad that he was being harassed by football players, but did not seem too perturbed by it.
“He made it seem like it was no big deal,” Jason said.
But when Wesley’s classmates told their friend’s parents what had really gone on the week before his death, the Goddards began putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
“He was crying to one of them about how he was tired of the football team bullying him, and how he ‘didn’t want to be here anymore,'” Jason said.
He and Kelley are doing some investigative work to gain any insight as to their son’s mental state just before his death. They sent his iPhone away to be unlocked so that they can look through his last texts and communications for clues.
But besides just doing their own research, the Goddards want answers from the Marysville School District as to what could have pushed their son over the edge — since, as it seems, much of the troubling behavior happened on school grounds.
“Our son seemed perfectly fine until this initial incident [with the football player] happened,” Jason said. “And I need to know what his last week at school was really like, because at this point, I still have no idea why this has happened … His mother and I need to know what his last week was like, what his last day was like, and what his last hour was like.”
The Marysville School District told him a week ago that it would begin an investigation by speaking with the student witnesses, but he said that the students he is in contact with have not yet been approached by district staff.
“All the people that really loved my son and really miss him feel like they want to tell somebody, and nobody has asked them,” Jason said.
He has spoken to multiple law enforcement agencies, but learned that police cannot get involved as no crime was committed.
Jason does not blame the bullies for his son’s death, but he does want to see them given counseling.
“It’s not their fault — it was my son’s decision — but they have to be feeling guilt,” Jason said. “They should be getting some help.”
The Marysville School District has not yet responded to the Dori Monson Show’s request for comment.