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September 21st, 2011
11:16 PM ET

Video: Rodemeyer: The bullying needs to stop

Editor's Note: CNN's Anderson Cooper talks to the family of Jamey Rodemeyer who committed suicide after being bullied for being gay.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Bullying
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Shannon f

    My daughter has been bullied because she wouldnt go strip with these girls for a boy in an abandoned house,they called her a whore! Whats worse is some parents dont seem to notice even when the school gets them for harassment these kids still persisted on tormenting her like being a virgin was bad, i say make it a law maybe then these parents would tell these bulling kids to mind there own person.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  2. Scott Bowen

    Anderson...

    I found a letter from the principle of the high school attended by Jamey (Williamsville North High School). The letter commented that parents may want to talk to their childrem about his death, but it was from a grieving point of view. NO mention was made of the bullying. Its no wonder he got no support at school. The principle has again ignored the problem. Perhaps someone from your staff can find out what is being done to help other students in the school who are also being bullied.

    The website to find the letter is http://www.williamsvillek12.org/north_high.cfm

    September 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  3. Donna Richard

    Thank you Nancy for your comment above. I agree with your statement and my heart and prayers go out to the family of this young boy who apparently took his own life. However, I am concerned over what I am seeing and hearing. Bullying was a factor when I went to school and still is. However, with the computer age, it has escolated to a whole different level in where a child cannot get away, of course unless they turn off their connections to the outside world. My daughter was subject to bullying in 5th grade where she was called names and then pushed into a fence. She was not gay but just disliked by the person who did the bullying. Recently however, my 10 year old son was accused of bullying. He was asking a child in his class where her mother was and she told him she was being raised by her two fathers who were getting married. Since this is not our lifestyle and the discussion has never come up in our family about gay or lesbians, my son said to her, " well your family is wacked". She told the teacher and a report of bullying was sent to the principal. Before my son was even talked to about this, he apologized to the little girl and told her he was sorry he had said anything to her like that. She had already reported it to the teacher and so two days later he was being questioned and we recieved the phone call. My son, who is a very compasionate child, came home crying that day from school. He said that he did not understand about the two fathers and that he never meant to say anything hurtful to the girl. He did not want to go back to school. Why would he understand? We have never had the conversation with him what it means to be homosexual. It turned out that no act of bullying was found concerning my son's statement to the little girl and the whole thing was dropped. I think that things have been taken to the opposite extreme. If someone is a bully then they should be disciplined for their behavior. Should every family in America have to explain to their young children what homosexuality means? My son is 10 years old. Is it really necessary for him to have his innocense taken away because someone is gay? My children have always been taught to respect others and that people are different and may not believe or live the same way that we do. That does not mean that someone else has the right to take away my childs innocense by telling me that I have to educate them on being homosexual. I don't know how this young boy was bullied or what exactly was involved. I am very sorry that he took his own life. Perhaps we should be spending our time and money on helping these children to learn to deal with their differences and accept who they are rather than alway trying to place the blame for their pain on someone else.

    September 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  4. Carrie Kenney

    My daughter is a sophomore at Williamsville North. One would have thought in the aftermath of Jamey's death, bullying would have been renounced and the students would come together in support of one another. However, that hasn't happened. If anything, bullying has become worse and is rampant throughout the school. Motivated by hate and blame, students are making very public accusations and allegations about one another regarding who they think is liable for Jamey's suicide. Bullying is being refuted by the very same students that are doing the harassing. Hypocritical? Yes, however I truly believe that bullies don't recognize themselves as bullies. What do we need to do? Mark a bully with a big, red letter B? There are too many high sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them.

    September 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  5. Left Coast

    My deepest sympathy to Jamey's family. No family should have to endure the pain they are suffering now.

    By all means society needs to change, and change quickly. While it is true bullies have been around for ever, we don't have to accept their behavior or ignore it. And it isn't just kids who bully other kids. Adults, politicians, and yes, church leaders are guilty of it as well. Countries bully other countries. We all need to be more accepting of each other.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  6. Maryanne

    Yes indeed gay children are bullied often and often without consequences. My grandson was outed at 15 and the catholic school he attended chose to do very little other then tell him to keep denying he was gay and eventually the bullies will get tired of "picking" on him. It went beyond "picking" on him. Death threats, names when he passed in halls, shoving and he was told he was not to use the bathroom or the bullies would kill him. Also Anderson, fat kids face almost the same verbal ane physical abuse as gay kids. Fat kids are targeted not only by bullies but by teachers, administrators, school officials. The war on obesity has made school hell for many fat kids. It has given bullies permission to target them. he ling between fat kids and gay kids is mirrored in the way they are treated.

    September 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  7. Aphrodite

    @Nancy
    All my gay friends knew that they were different, since they were very young.

    September 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  8. Barbara

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of this young man,I cannot imagine the anguish,the pain and the feeling of being alone during his last few minutes of life.
    I find it unfathomable to think that such cruel,heartless people exist in this day and age.It pains me to my soul that a life silenced beacuse he was different.,and how brave to try and reach out to those that don't understand or don;t want to understand.We must not let peer pressure define us or who we are.
    I am a 60 yr old gay woman,have known since I was 13 yrs old.I have stood tall,I have lived free of what others thought or think of my life.I have learned much about compssion and humility along the way.I have always told people when they ask if I am gay,I will tell them,but then the responsibilty of my answer becomes their problem not mine.
    I am who I am,proud of a 27 yr relationship that gives me so much pride and fills my heart every single day of my life,no way will a homophobe take that away from me,ever.My life is not about the bedroom,it is not all about sex.It is about love and wanting to build a life with someone who makes you happy,keeps you laughing and gives your the meaning it deserves.
    My very deepest and most heartfelt sympathy do I extend to this honorable,brave young mans family.You have every reason to be proud beyond words of this fallen hero.

    September 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  9. CJ Adams

    How many more have to die before it's wrong!

    September 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  10. Glenn Mallory

    Is there some responsibility on the part law enforcement to determine whether the school took adequate measures to protect this young man. Did the bullies receive counseling? Were their parents notified of pernicious behavior. Is bullying a form of assault? Should parents be held responsible for the actions and consequences when their kids are bullies?

    September 22, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  11. Nancy Henry

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Anderson Cooper! For helping to bring to light the pain and suffering gay people must to endure.
    You are the Rosa Parks of CNN, I greatly appreciate your effort!

    September 22, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  12. nancy

    Having had children of my own and having taught for 20 years, I don't understand how a child of 10-14 years of age knows he is gay. They barely know what sex is. Heaven forbid that my question be misinterpreted, but I truly don't know how a child knows whether he is gay or not. We have the freedom to be different. Bullying went on when I was a child, but it has become violent. One might argue that violence in TV programs doesn't affect children, but news from the past ten years involving children and violence proves that it has. Condescending speech is commonplace even in cartoons. It is ironic that Cartoon Network is proclaiming that bullying must stop. Let them lead the way by trimming their scripts of put downs and violence. Bullying on face book,twitter, etc. should be reported as any threat would be. My heart goes out to this grieving family and others who have been through such tragedy.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Matthew

      May I raise a question? When did you know you are straight?

      September 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • T3chsupport

      10, maybe, but if you think you've got boys around who are 14 and don't know what sex is about, there's a good chance you may have missed something.

      Even without a noticeable sex drive, little kids still get little childish crushes on other little kids.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • John K

      I knew I was gay at the age of 5. You need to seperate the innate sexuality from the idea of sex Nancy. One can know about his or her difference and not understand it or have put a whole lot of thought towards it. A kid is a kid afterall and you are likely an adult trying to fit a childs observations into your grown up understanding of the world. Knowing you have a different sexuality doesn't mean you are thinking of or participating in any sexual acts it just means you know about it. At that point he could have kept it secret to comfort the haters or he could just be honest about it as he was and be persecuted for it. The problem here is that society rewards gay folks for keeping it secret and persecutes them for being honest. The intent is to make us afraid to be honest so they can feel comfortable. Haters better find a new past time because we're not going away and their tactics are being exposed to the light of day more and more often.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • dwt

      I respect the honesty of your statement, but I have to say (as a straight person) that most gay people that I know knew they were gay by about 4th grade or so. That's the age when kids can develop a "crush," even though they don't know what it is or where it could lead physically. I am male. I had a crush on a neighbor girl in 4th grade.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • mike

      Nancy, I definitely knew i was gay at 12. maybe I did not understand it fully but I knew who i was attracted to and who I wanted to be around. The question for you is when did you decide to be straight? I don't think anyone sits down and declares who they are but just know in their heart!

      September 22, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • David

      I came out to my parents in 7th grade.

      I am now 29 and can't imagine it any different. Moved out to live with his boyfriend when he was 15.

      I think you may not understand how sexual orientation works. When you hit puberty you are become attracted to members of the opposite sex OR members of the same sex. It depends on your gender. Even before puberty, I was always less interested in sports and more interested in theater. When I was 3 I once dressed in my mother's night gown pretending to be Glinda from The Wizard of Oz.

      With sexuality being a biological factor, people just are.

      I knew I was gay from the moment I hit puberty. Even before I knew what the word "gay" meant.

      You see boys and you see girls... and one of those groups makes you blush, become nervous, want to look your best, "rings your bell" so to speak, and one of those groups does not.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
      • David

        *Sorry, I flubbed the third scentence there.

        "My fiance moved out to live with his first boyfriend when he was 15 and they were together for three years."

        That is what I meant to say.

        September 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • spencer

      we know much earlier than you may think 🙂

      September 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm |