Friday, September 23, 2011

Police Investigate Bullying in NY Teen's Suicide

Police in Amherst, NY are investigating whether criminal charges should be filed after the suicide of 14-year old Jamey Rodemeyer following a history of being bullied in school for being gay. Jamey had recently made an "It Gets Better" video, but it didn't save him from the bullying that was ignored by school officials.

New York State doesn't have an an anti-bullying law, but bullies could be charged with harassment or aggravated harassment. The use of a telephone or computer could escalate the charges.

Jamey had frequent meetings with school officials in the previous two years, when he was in middle school. According to school officials the bullies were spoken to  but the bullying continued.

As usual in these cases, the attitude of the police and school administrators is one of apathy and indifference. Even in states with hate-crime legislation on the books officials are reluctant to pursue bullies for some reason. It seems socially acceptable to harass and push young, gay teens around, yet should a teen or younger person in school who is not a part of a group discriminated against take his/her life, the media, police and school officials doggedly purse actions against those involved.

We have a long way to go in this country that touts itself as a place when anyone can make their dreams come true. This is especially true in those states dominated by Republicans who have managed to pass discriminatory legislation favoring bullying and non-action when cases come forward. This is such a sad, needless death of a young person that could have easily been avoided had people in responsible positions taken action when necessary. So sad....

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