Yet two more teen suicides spurred on by high school bullying and harassment from peers. (Read previous blog on gay teen suicides.)
Last month, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer killed himself in Buffalo, N.Y., after years of homophobic harassment. (photo right)
Last week in Ottowa, Canada 13 year-old Jamie Hubley took his life. He too was taunted and ridiculed, in this case because he preferred dance to football, art instead of mechanics. There is no apparent evidence that Hubley was gay or displayed homosexual tendencies in public.
But it doesn’t take that to ignite an immature homophobe to action; mere suspicion, innuendo and peer presumption is enough to make a strong case against a child who is not fully ‘macho’ and make him an easy target for scorn and cruel language.
What is it about homosexuality that inspires hate, injury and an intent to kill? An innocent soft artsy-type of kid minding his own business is mowed down by assaultive insulting language and he succumbs? Evil is often beyond a reasonable answer. (photo left Jamie Hubley with his father)
The unseen problem in the It Gets Better crusade is that it often gets worse before better as helpless children are sucked into a maelstrom of anguish depression and turbulent confusion where it’s impossible to feel assured of a less painful outcome a year or three later.
How do we take hold of a sinking fragile ego and brace it, anchor it against the terrible angst of peer scorn–often anonymous over the Internet from senders who hide–knowing their attack is shameful and cruel.
I say first and foremost yank the kid out of his or her school and transplant them to a safer place. Don’t wait while your child is in pain. Find another school, a charter school, private school, home schooling, internet courses…
The second step is to fight back; mount a very public protest against the school, in newspapers, social media, radio and TV interviews condemning the hate crime of bullying.
The third is to use the force of law and court action to threaten back the individuals and system that tolerates crime. Many Catholic priests and the church itself are now under assault for tolerating child abuse. This is no different. Use the technology the internet against the perpetrators to uncover their identity and eject them from school and bring charges. Hate crime should be handled like physical assault. Identify and prosecute both the kid and their parents.
Then demand the school system mount a high awareness program against the crime and evil of bullying, compelling every student to attend assemblies where speakers and victims and bullies tell their stories. Empower kids to go public against bullies, expose them and make them the shamed ones–and then offer them and their families counseling that may hopefully change behavior by deeper understanding of the harm and crime of bullying.
Bring bullying out of it’s bullied kids become the hidden closet and make it a public nuisance so that victims become victors and perpetrators become the fearful one begging for mercy–and given it.
Jamie Hubley and Jamie Rodemeyer should be alive and proud boys not motionless victims.
Read more about gay teen bullying and suicide:
By Richard Ammon