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LGBT Mix: Jamey’s Bullies Chanted ‘We’re Glad You’re Dead’

LGBT Mix: Jamey’s Bullies Chanted ‘We’re Glad You’re Dead’

 

The parents of Jamey Rodemeyer, the New York boy who committed suicide earlier this month due to bullying, appeared on NBC’s Today show this week and revealed that when their daughter, Alyssa, attended a recent school dance in order to be with her friends and find comfort there, Jamey’s bullies, they say, were heard to shout “You’re better off dead, we’re glad you’re dead” when a Lady Gaga song came on and other students wanted to commemorate Jamey’s memory.

Watch the interview below:

Jamey’s sister also appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 show this week to talk about the incident at the dance. Rosalind Wiseman, a bullying expert, also features talking about how she believes that the bullying Jamey was victim to could happen anywhere and that we as individuals have to be the ones to address bullying in our own lives and communities and not pass it off as “society’s problem”:

The Amherst Police Special Victims Unit has said that it is currently investigating harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crime charges against three students at Williamsville North High School where Jamey had just started his freshman year. You can read more on that here.

Jamey’s suicide has prompted State Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) to introduce legislation that would modernize New York state’s anti-bullying laws. In particular the legislation is designed to make tackling cyber bullying easier given that current laws do not necessarily cover this form of harassment.

Senator Klein said in a statement:

“Our laws are not keeping pace with technology and we are paying a human price for it. No longer is bullying only confined to the schoolyard, it is now piped in an instant through victim’s computers and onto the devices they carry in their pockets.  This legislation will help provide protections to those who need it, as well as send a strong message about the seriousness of this destructive behavior.”

Specifically, the legislation will update the crime of Third-Degree Stalking (a Class A Misdemeanor) to include cyberbullying, which is defiined as a course of conduct using electronic communications that is likely to cause fear of harm or emotional distress to a person under 21. The legislation would also expand the charge of Second-Degree Manslaughter (a Class C Felony) to include “bullycide.” The term is defined as whena  person engages in cyberbullying and intentionally causes the victim to commit suicide.

The legislation is supported by a number of state Democratic lawmakers. For more information on that and the report that coincided with the legislation, please click here.

However, not all anti-bullying groups support legislation criminalizing bullying. The GSA for instance has said that criminalizing bullies fails to deal with the underlying issue of why they are bullying in the first place. It also places the emphasis on catching the bullies, they say, rather than focusing on helping the victims of bullying. The main point the GSA makes is that bullies are children too and that they are “acting out” the messages they are getting from the adult world so until we change those messages we cannot effectively tackle bullying no matter how we legislate, and that legislation and “zero tolerance” may cause more harm than good because it may fail mean we fail to engage with the bully and actually teach them anything. You can read more on that here.

Others have offered a counter view to this, arguing that harassment is already illegal and strengthening bullying legislation so as to ensure that there are appropriate consequences to knowingly inflicting harm upon a fellow classmate is only furthering the aims of existing law. They also point out that what we call simple bullying among school kids may be deemed serious criminal activity in the adult world and wonder why the same standards are not applied.

But what do you think? Do we need tougher laws? Or is further criminalizing bullying not the answer? Is there value in both approaches working in tandem? Let us know your thoughts.

 

Related Reading:

Jamey Rodemeyer Death: Police Open Criminal Investigation

Anti-Gay Bullying Leads to Another Teen Suicide

Facebook Launches Stop Bullying App

Read more: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Image taken from Jamey's It Gets Better Video, no infringement intended.

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133 comments

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2:56PM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

I don't believe that including cyber bullying in the law and stiffening the punishments would leave the victim without support from law enforcement. On the contrary, it would strenghten the help for the victims of these cowardly perpetrated crimes. And it would also send a strong message to the bullies that they will not get away with those despicable crimes with a slap on their wrists.

My warmest thoughts go out to the family of Jamey Rodemayer and my admiration for their courage to talk about what happened to them and their son!

11:19PM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

FYI - Thursday, October 20, 2011 is International SPIRIT DAY - one of the minor holidays on the LGBT Calendar. It is asked that you wear a PURPLE SHIRT as a sign of LGBT support, and in memory of the LGBT Teens who have died because of their orientation.

1:24PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

what idiotic kids. blessings go out to jamey's family.

7:16PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

I love that there is no Quick Poll when you specifically ask for our opinions. This is a reacurring trend and really bugs me... but I think that both methods are needed. Abusers often have issues in their pasts that hurt them, but does that make domestic violence okay? Absolutely not. Same here, in my mind.

5:45PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

Just as the so-called 'liberal' Christian churches provide cover and support for the radical fundamentalist Christian churches (after-all they use the same book, and believe in the same unsupported fairy tales), so too do anti-gay views professed in churches provide cover to those religious (or not) to target gay people for abuse.

11:42AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

This is about as sad as it gets. I wish Jamey's family and friends all the support in the world. (What an extraordinary young woman his sister is.)

What can we do to stop this sort of thing from happening again? Life skills need to be taught, at school and at home, from an early age. We need to learn not to care what other people think. (But to care a great deal about how they feel.) Inner strength must be built up by whatever means, as well as kindness. There need to be clear people and places to go to when we feel small and alone.

I don't know what can be done about the children who behaved so vilely. I want very much to believe that people are capable of learning and becoming more compassionate. But for now, I'd imagine they need to be separated from each other, counselled, made to do some community work - and also meet people who've come through the other side of persecution, and learn to put themselves in someone else's shoes.

I haven't got any answers really. But I know we must all be vigilant, and help in whatever way we can to combat prejudice - and foster love.

4:54PM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

Why on earth is there so much fear, intolerance and hate?

6:04PM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

What disgusting kids to torment the family. One can only hope for karma to bite them is the @ss one day...

7:38AM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

I do believe there need to be stronger laws regarding bullying, especially cyber-bullying. In this case specifically, something needs to be done about those 3 boys, since their bullying hasn't stopped with Jamie's death, but is continuing on tormenting his family and friends with what happened at the dance. Why haven't school officials done anything about that? If the punishments for bullying are stronger and enforced, I do think it will deter the behavior somewhat, but I also feel that there needs to be education or some sort of program to teach respect and tolerance for all.

6:14AM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

We need tougher laws and stricter rules within our schools against bullying. Everyone needs to be educated on the signs, and encouraged to denounce it wherever they see the signs.

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