The Amherst Police Department's Special Victims Unit in Buffalo, New York, have opened a criminal investigation in the suicide death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who was bullied online with gay slurs for more than a year.
He endured that for a year. Imagine yourself being taunted and teased and threatened for a year. Seriously. Imagine it. Now imagine you're fourteen.
The Amherst Police Department's SVU said it will determine whether to charge some students with harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crimes, saying that three students in particular might have been involved. Currently, there are no bullying laws in New York State, so police would have to determine whether aggravated harassment charges fit this case.
Imagine. You're fourteen, and thinking, feeling, wondering, questioning, your sexual orientation, and having to listen to the taunts and teases for years.
Some students posted anonymous messages on Jamey's Mindspring account, a website that allows anonymous posts:
"JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND [sic] UGLY. HE MUST DIE!"
"I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!"
Imagine you're fourteen and that's what people are saying to you. Every.Single.Day.
Every.Single.Day. And, though friends reported the bullying incidences to guidance counselors, everyone, including his mother, thought Jamey had grown stronger. But how do you grow stronger when this happens to you every single day. How do you 'get over it' or 'move on'?
Friends described him as caring and friendly, and he had been seeking help from a social worker and therapist. his own mother, who knew her son was questioning his sexual orientation, thought he'd grown stronger.
Until enough was too much.
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, saying, "Love yourself and you're set. ... I promise you, it will get better."
Sadly, for Jamey, it didn't.
And now, hopefully, the police will find those 'anonymous' people who have nothing better to do than taunt and torment a young boy, and punish them. And hopefully parents and schools and school officials and law enforcement will begin to realize this isn't just fun that kids do. It isn't a game. Games don't end up with someone dead.
On Facebook, Jamey posted: "I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. ... What do I have to do so people will listen to me? No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you're the ones calling me [gay slur] and tearing me down."
One of his last posts were the lyrics to a song by Hollywood Undead:
"I just wanna say good bye, disappear with no one knowing. ... I don't wanna live this lie, smiling to the world unknowing."
Hopefully, with the police involved, there will be justice for Jamey Rodemeyer, and hopefully, no one will have to endure bullying because of who they are, or who they love, or the color of their skin, their faith, or anything.
Hopefully, bullying will soon die out.