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Friday, September 30, 2011

When the Chain of Bullying continues: Jamey Rodemeyer

Deutsche Version dieses Blogs hier.

The parents of Jamey Rodemeyer
giving an interview on the Today Show
(September 27th 2011)


Jamey Rodemeyer
The anti-gay induced suicide ("Bullycide") of 14 year old Jamey Rodemeyer from Buffalo, NY, happened nearly two weeks ago, on Sunday September 18th 2011.

Jamey's death has raised a wave of sympathy and grief, received massive coverage in the news, and triggered a call for a law that should make bullying illegal and a hate crime, ignited by pop star  Lady Gaga.

Jaheem Herrera
And yet, just as in the case of 11 year old Jaheem Herrera (who took his life due to anti-gay bullying in 2009) and others more, the teasing and taunting did not stop for good once the target of the assaults had passed away.

The Chain of Bullying continues ...

As we can hear in the interview that Jamey's parents gave, things are going on in the wake of Jamey's death, that have a striking similarity to what happened a year ago in Jaheem's case - a fact which is appalling in itself already ... but, even more so, things are speeding up in a nauseating way.


"De mortuis nihil nisi bonum"

This Latin saying goes back to the philosopher Diogenes. Translated, it means "Of the dead nothing, unless good" - or in the more common phrasing:

"Do not speak ill of the dead."

This is meant as a sign of respect and humanity, by which we acknowledge that once a human being has passed the border of death, any Earthly quarrel and argument has to stop.

And even without quoting the philosopher's words, there is an other rule that applies here, which says "If you don't have anything nice to say, better say nothing at all."

The bottom line is: We don't wage wars across and beyond the final border, and we respect the grief of those who have lost a loved one.

Obviously, this unwritten law has no meaning any more for those bullies who let their actions be ruled and guided only by prejudices, spite and contempt while their prey is still alive, and obviously feel the need to continue doing so even after they have driven a human being to ending their life.

In Jaheem's case, his sister all of a sudden had to face bullying herself at school, one year after her brother's death - being taunted and mocked about his suicide.

One year later.

As we now learn from the interview in the above video: In Jamey's case the taunting and bullying of someone who has passed goes on, too ... but there is no year period of grace granted any more. The bullies let only days pass by before they resumed their repulsive behaviour, bringing new pain and sadness to all those who are still so fresh in their grief and mourning for Jamey.


What can be done about this? What needs to be done? Two things.

Kirk Field-Smalley, father of Ty Field-Smalley
(who took his life at the age of 11 for being bullied),
speaking to High School students
First of all, school officials cannot accept the situation. 

This means that teachers and the principal have to take a clear stand and make active moves to bring an end to this kind of contemptuous and hurtful behaviour.

Apart from that, there have to be workshops and counselling programs started, to prevent bullying, making an effort to create a peaceful and respectful climate at schools, so all students can feel safe, and trust to get support and help in case they need it.

In the current events of the slurs on Jamey uttered after his death, though, it's not only about giving detention to those who shout out those disgusting things. It will mean intense talks and counselling, and it will also be necessary to bring the parents of the bullies into the game.

Well, admitted: In some cases, if we would call upon them, we might even find that those kids indeed learned their spiteful manners from those who raised them - learning by example. Sadly I am very sure that persons like former Arkansas school board vice president Clint McCance are no singular cases, in passing on their own unreflected shortcomings and phobias to kids ...

Anyhow - parents have a responsibility for their kids, even if these kids are teenagers or almost young adults already. So they have to be brought into the game to be an active part in making things change.

And second: Every student is called upon to also say "No!". 

This is a situation where Jamey's friends at school have to stand up for his memory. And this is also true for all the other kids who maybe hardly even knew Jamey while he was alive, but now know about him.

They cannot and must not accept what those do who bully Jamey even beyond the grave, and hurt those who loved him.

The good thing is: Those who stand up and speak out against this outrage have a lot of trumps on their side in this sad, but necessary game - because for every bully, there are ten non-bullies. At least. And such a mass of people can have a massive effect even completely without fighting back by using physical or mental violence (and by that lowering themselves down to the bullies' level).

Teachers have to encourage and empower their students constantly to take an active stand against bullying, and to stand up together, where the rights, the well-being and and the dignity of a single kid is under attack - students have to be motivated to protect the victim, and to get help. And teachers then have to be there when their help is needed, too!

If everyone is ready and willing to help out against bullying while it happens, then we will be able to say

Bullying Stops Here - Bullying No Way!



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