October 5th, 2010
12:33 PM ET

Bullying victim: 'I believed that I did not deserve to live'

Chuck Hadad
AC360° Producer

(CNN) - For Joey Kemmerling, it was his decision to reveal his sexual orientation that triggered relentless bullying at school.

"I came out of the closet as gay in eighth grade and ever since I've been bullied. I was, for lack of a better word, and still am, the school faggot," the 16-year-old Joey recently told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

The Pennsylvania native said his decision to come out to classmates not only evoked a firestorm of vicious taunts but also led to a threat on his life.

"There was a point where a kid had a knife on school premises and said, 'I'm going to kill him. I want that faggot dead.' And I had to transfer schools," Joey said.

The bullying persisted outside of school, both online and on the street. His mother, Joyce Mundy, said beyond her son being bullied online, she had to file a police report after two boys followed Joey on his walk home, making threatening comments the entire way.

Joey and seven other teens recently spoke to Cooper about the harsh realities of bullying. All eight youngsters said they were not surprised by the recent rash of headlines about suicides of apparent bullying victims.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Bullying • Chuck Hadad
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Joey, You are a thought leader, your ideas on reaching into the souls of bullies and society educating them on the effects of hate, especially on the young were inspiring and I hope you continue your leadership against bullying! We all have something to learn from you!

    October 6, 2010 at 1:40 am |
  2. Jayne

    I meant to say where are the PARENTS of the bullies. So sorry!

    October 5, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  3. Jayne

    My question: Where are the PARENTS of the bullying. No one talks about the parents. Where are they!!!???

    October 5, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  4. Mitch

    I feel for these kids, as someone who is now 23 and in college, I still deal with these issues. I had to transfer schools in high school because of the way people were treating me thinking I was gay, and then it followed their as well. I never did come out as bisexual except to a few friends a few years ago. Even now, in my third year of college, I am doing on-line classes because the one class I took in school I had to sit and listen to the kids, who I didn't even talk to, talk about how I was gay in class during lectures. It was an uncomfortable environment, and all i took from that class is how cruel other people can be. The fact that it has kept me from coming out, I give praise to these who have come out, and have dealt with it. Good for them for sharing their stories, something does need done.

    October 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  5. Francisco Sanders

    I am a 35 year old male whom has suffered from obesity due to kidney complications nealry all of my life. I endured bullying, not on a regular basis, but I endured. The point is, no child,or teen should be having to endure being bullied. While I know that we cannot stop the occasional verbal assautl, I do believe that we can and we must take stonger preventitive measures against this problem. Bullying is really a form of terrorism when you get right down to it. and I believe we should hold a national summit that addresses this issue and how if left unchecked todays children and teen bullies will hold tomorrows jobs that they feel they can take this type of bullying behavior and unleash on the rest of the world. If we truly are trying to become more involved and strengthen our future, we have to begin to take things such as bullying and the end effect more seriously and not just play it off as, "part of growing up". Seriously let's all be grownups and bring this in to the spotlight once and for all and try and set up safe guards to prevent another columbine.

    October 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  6. Rupa

    The people who bully in their school days keep on bullying in their workplaces too. And it is so hard to complain when one gets bullied at workplace, whom to tell, particularly if you are an alien/immigrant. That is why we need enforcement of very strict law to punish those who bully at school days, even their parents need to be brought into justice because parents are after all responsible for their kids' behavior.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  7. Dana E Chartan

    It is Joey's Courage, Commitment, and Confidence on this issue that WILL Cause Change! trust in that... the only thing Constant in the universe is Change.

    Joyce, his mother, was my 8th grade English teacher and a lifetime mentor. If it is true that in times of darkness we find light, let todays broadcast illuminate this real epidemic.

    A direct, effective, and concise solution needs to be found and applied in educational systems.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  8. K S Verdi, San Antonio, TX

    My son was assaulted in 5th grade and threatened to jump off our roof after the school's investigation didn't validate what my son said and the teacher denied it ever happened. Luckily I was able to "fix" the situation with local and school law enforcement. Luckily we also had good psychiatric and psychological help.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  9. Don Moser

    Bullying can have many sources for a kid to immitate. I am surprised that nobody sees books as another big bad influence on a kids behavior. My smart 7-year-old nephew started reading Diary of a Whimpy Kid and became a bully! I have to sit down with him and tell him the difference. Don Moser

    October 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm |