14 Year Old Jamey Rodemeyer, who was bullied online with gay slurs for more than a year, has committed suicide. Jamey was found dead outside his home Sunday morning, but Amherst police would not release any details on how he killed himself.
“The special victims unit is looking into the circumstances prior to his death,” Captain Michael Camilleri said. “We are not sure if there is anything criminal or not.”
Many people including Lady Gaga, have expressed their discontent about what they say was relentless torment on social networking websites.
The Amherst Police Department’s Special Victims Unit has said it will determine whether to charge some students with harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crimes. Police said three students in particular might have been involved. Jamey was a student at Heim Middle School.
No bullying laws exist in New York State, according to Camilleri, so police would have to determine whether aggravated harassment charges fit this case. Whether suspects would be tried in juvenile court would depend on whether the alleged bully was 16 or older, he said.
Police stated that they had spoken with Williamsville School Superintendent Scott G. Martzloff, who has pledged the district’s cooperation.
“We’ve heard that there were some specific students, an identifiable group of students, that had specifically targeted Jamey, or had been picking on him for a period of time,” Police Chief John C. Askey told the Buffalo News.”
Lady Gaga expressed how she felt regarding this the situation via twitter:
Students had been posting hate comments with gay references on his Formspring account, a website that allows anonymous posts.
“JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND [sic] UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” one post said, according to local reports. Another read, “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!”
Friends reported the bullying to guidance counselors. But everyone, including his mother, thought he had grown stronger.
“Jamey’s suicide is a tragic reminder of the vulnerability of gay teens,”
said Malcolm Lazin, founder and executive director of the Equality Forum, which focuses on LGBT civil rights and education.
“They are bullied and marginalized,” he said. “While some may say that Jamey took his life, it is unrelenting homophobia that murdered him.”
Friends described Jmaey as caring and friendly, and he had been seeking help from a social worker and therapist.
In May, after coming out to friends, Jamey posted a YouTube video on the new online site, It Gets Better Project, which provides testimony from adults and celebrities to reassure troubled and potentially suicidal LGBT youth that life improves as they get older.
He wrote: “Love yourself and you’re set. … I promise you, it will get better.”
This country has lost it’s mind when we do not know when our own children are bullying others. The internet has made it so easy for people to be bullied merely because there is no physical interaction. These kids that bully online are nothing but cowards and would never say the things they say online in front of an adult or anyone else for that matter.
Parents need to do a better job at knowing what their children are doing online. It all starts at home. Bullying is disgusting and should have no place in our society. Bullies need to be treated as criminals and put in prisons so that they can be bullied and see what it feels like.
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