Continued Bullying of Teen After His Suicide Should Be a Wakeup Call (VIDEO)

Jamey Rodemeyer
Jamey Rodemeyer
Get ready to feel your stomach churn because this story about the despicable behavior of several high school bullies is beyond disgusting. You probably already heard the heartbreaking story about 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who recently killed himself and claimed years of bullying made him do it. Well, I'd love to think that this teenager's death would have an eye-opening impact on the bullies whose actions pushed the teen to take his life. However, it appears even his self-induced death was not enough for these hate-filled bullies. When Jamey's 16-year-old sister, Alyssa, attended the homecoming dance on the same day as Jamey's wake, bullies chanted, "You're better off dead" and "We're glad he's dead" when a Lady Gaga song came on at the dance.

What in the world is wrong with these kids?

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On the Today Show yesterday, Jamey's father said, "I can’t grasp it. I don’t know why anyone would do that. They have no heart." I wish the no-heart defense was enough for me. I just can't stop there. There is clearly a twisted psychology -- whether at home, in school, or in society as a whole -- that is allowing these kids to be openly cruel, if not completely evil, and that's what I want to talk about. That's what we all need to talk about.

Jamey was constantly called a "fag" and taunted for being gay, so where are kids learning that this behavior is okay? I'm afraid you don't have to look any further than the anti-gay messages in many of our churches, from many conservative politicians, and from many ordinary, closed-minded adults and parents. I just wish that these adults would realize that these messages can lead to hate and bullying and even more aggressive hate crimes when left in the hands of immature kids and teens. Being against something morally doesn't have to mean overt judgments, condemnation, or hate spewing. You can simply live and let live.

Of course, for the most bigoted individuals, "live and let live" is an impossible feat and that behavior then gets passed on to their kids. Bullies are often bullied at home or witnesses to bullying behavior at home. So the only thing we can do to stop it is stand up against it as a society. No tolerance to bullying against our kids in school. I hope the kids who pulled this crap at the homecoming dance were sent to a tolerance and empathy boot camp. I'd like to have seen them expelled, but I also know that just sweeps the problem under the rug.

So what can you do right now? Well, I hope you'll tell your tweens and teens the story of Jamey Rodemeyer at the dinner table tonight, and, if you haven't already, open the conversation about bullying and being bullied.

WATCH the Today Show segment with Jamey's parents:

What is your response to this continued bullying even after Jamey's death? What role do you think parents play in stopping bullying?

 

Image via the Today Show

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