You’ve probably never heard of Jamey Rodemeyer. However, I hope you take the time now to know what an incredible fourteen year-old boy he was. Unfortunately, Jamey took his life on September 18th after posting an online farewell. A freshman at Williamsville North High School (outside of Buffalo, NY), he was bullied relentlessly in person and online because he was gay. How could this tragedy happen?
Prior to his death, it appeared that Jamey was trying to cope and making some progress. He made the below video, part of the It Gets Better Project:
The project was created by Dan Savage and his partner Terry to give hope to young people facing harassment like bullying. Thankfully an organization like this exists. From their website:
“Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can’t imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves.
Justin Aaberg. Billy Lucas. Cody Barker. Asher Brown. Seth Walsh. Raymond Chase. Tyler Clementi. They were tragic examples of youth who could not believe that it does actually get better.
While many of these teens couldn’t see a positive future for themselves, we can. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.
I believe there should be a national law that makes this type of bullying a hate crime. It’s 2011, and American citizens should be able to be themselves without FEAR. Hiding who you are is not “natural.”
The New York police are opening up a criminal investigation into Jamie’s death. They are determining if some of his classmates should be charged with harassment (cyber also) or hate crimes. However, there is no law on the books that addresses this issue.
Where were the school officials? They saw this bullying on a daily basis. Why did Jamie have to endure this torture? Why weren’t the bullies expelled for their behavior? Jamie repeatedly said that no one at his school cared or would do anything about the bullying. So many questions but few answers. However, Jamie’s death must change the policies of schools nationally.
Sadly, bullying killed Jamey. A young man who had much life left is dead. Tolerance and acceptance are “virtues” that transcends race, sex, religion, and economic status. Jamie posted these Lady Gaga’s lyrics on his Facebook page: Don’t forget me when I come crying to heaven’s door.
Jamie, you will never be forgotten…