When will this evil waste of children's lives end?
Updated: 10:16 p.m. April 21, 2009
At vigil for Jaheem, mother weeps over his suicide
Family says 11-year-old was bullied at elementary school
By CHRISTIAN BOONE, KATIE LESLIE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
A crowd of about 60 gathered Tuesday night at the DeKalb home of Jaheem Herrera to remember the fifth-grader who committed suicide last week. The 11-year-old boy hanged himself at his home after — according to his family — relentless bullying at Dunaire Elementary School.
Masika Bermudez, the boy’s mother, spoke briefly at the vigil that started about 7 p.m.
After a short prayer, Bermudez told friends and parents to make sure their children understand that whatever problems they have “don’t be afraid to talk to your mother.”
As Bermudez spoke, she clung to two daughters — Ny’irah, 7 and Yerralis, 10. Yerralis discovered her brother’s body last Thursday after school.
“His sister was screaming, ‘Get him down, get him down,’” said Norman Keene, Jaheem’s stepfather.
When Keene got to the room, he saw Yerralis holding her brother, trying to remove the pressure of the noose her brother had fashioned with a fabric belt.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Jennifer Errion, assistant director of student support services, prevention-intervention for DeKalb schools.
DeKalb County schools have programs in place to combat the types of bullying and violence that may have led to Jaheem’s death, but a Errion acknowledged the prevention program is “not a vaccine.”
Two years ago, DeKalb public schools adopted an anti-bullying program called “No Place for Hate,” she said. The program, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, helps train faculty and students on accepting differences, promoting diversity and inclusion.
“We’ve created the idea that bullying is a rite of passage, and I don’t think it is,” said Errion.
At the vigil, the mother of Jaheem’s best friend relayed a story from Jaheem’s last day.
“Jaheem asked if anyone would miss him if he wasn’t here,” said Alice Brown, mother of Jaheem’s 10-year-old classmate A.J. “[A.J.] told him ‘He was his friend and he would miss him.’ “
Keene said the family knew the boy was a target of bullies, but until his death they didn’t understand the scope.
“They called him gay and a snitch,” his stepfather said. “All the time they’d call him this.”
Earlier this month the suicide of a Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover — who suffered taunts that he was gay — attracted national attention.
He was also 11. His mother found him hanging from an extension cord in the family’s home.
Bermudez also said her son was being bullied at school. She said she had complained to the school.
School officials won’t discuss allegations that bullying may have contributed to the boy’s suicide. Davis said Tuesday morning that officials are legally unable to comment on student-related records, such as whether the school had received complaints that Jaheem was being bullied.
Do you think people like this contribute towards the unnessasary deaths of children?
Laurie Higgins is one of the organizers of the Day of Silence Walk Out.
- roccopaperielloLv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
The entire persecutorial stance of most Christian churches against gay youth have contributed substantially to great harm and even death throughout the years.
It has been shown quite conclusively that this policy and attitude of irrational condemnation does indeed bring great harm to innocent people.
They know what they are doing and do not care. They call it hating the "sin" but its result is hating the person and bringing deliberate harm to them. Our vulnerable youth deserves to learn the truth concerning sexual orientation instead of the bigoted and ignorant concepts taught by most of our Christian churches. They deserve the freedom to be themselves. They in fact should be ENCOURAGED to form committed and loving relationships and thereby enrich their lives and the lives of those around them.
Of course the Christian religions have a long history of perpetuating hateful and harmful "moral" stands, like denying women equal rights and condoning slavery for centuries.
This is just one more instance of choosing their own ignorant self interest at the expense of innocent people. They KNOW the harm they do and continue anyway.
The high suicide rate for gay teens in this country -- 4 to 10 times that of non gay teens -- is NOT without cause. Now studies show the serious effect of the ignorant blanket condemnation of homosexuality on our innocent youth.
Here is merely one example:
Research Links Poor Health Of LGB Youth To Family Rejection
Researchers have established a correlation between the health of lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents and how their families react to them coming out.
“For the first time, research has established a predictive link between specific, negative family reactions to their child’s sexual orientation and serious health problems for these adolescents in young adulthood—such as depression, illegal drug use, risk for HIV infection, and suicide attempts,” said Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project at the César E. Chávez Institute at San Francisco State University and lead author of the research.
The major research findings included:
• LGB young adults who experienced higher rates of family rejection had significantly poorer health outcomes.
• LGB young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse, compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
• Latino males reported the highest number of negative family reactions to their sexual orientation in adolescence.
“This study clearly shows the tremendous harm of family rejection, even if parents think they are well-intentioned, following deeply held beliefs or even protecting their children," said Dr. Sten Vermund, a pediatrician and Amos Christie Chair of Global Health at Vanderbilt University.
Those people who actually ARE concerned enough to learn the truth about our gay youth should visit the following site:
Of course if you are happy in your ignorance and bigotry ignore the truth.
- 1 decade ago
that is certainly an evil tragedy. even though i was very popular at school i still fell prey to bullying three times. once when i came from the toilets 6 older lads pushed me around, once i hit my head and fell to the floor they ran away. secondly my group of friends turned away from me and bullied me, they shattered ice over my head and left me in a town half an hour from were i stayed. thirdly, a boy has recently decided to hate me and he shouts abuse at me. i have become a stronger person through each time and i would not be the person i was today without those experiences. bullying is terrible and i am not for bullying at all. everyone experiences it and some commit suicide as they see no way out. unless we educate people about bullying this senseless tragedy will never endSource(s): life
- Anonymous1 decade ago
It sounds to me like this kid had some issues. Whether you are bullied or not, most mentally stable people do not try to kill themselves. I'm surprised that such a young kid would be aware of such methods of suicide, and be able to carry it out so well.
I do not condone the actions of the bullies whatsoever, but something tells me that this child was probably living in a very dysfunctional environment and probably grew up in an environment in which he was exposed to inappropriate things. This is a very sad story. However, you speak as if suicide of young kids is a prevalent problem in our society, and the fact is that it is most definately not.
- JunseinaMakuraLv 41 decade ago
I have the feeling that bullying is the application of using the majority against the few.
There should be an awareness that the majority does not always represent being right.
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
This is wrong on so many levels, i have no clue where to start
BUT..the school SHOULD be held responsible on every count?
The kids are NOT safe there, from psychological and physiological abuse and school has to grant safe environment
- The creatureLv 41 decade ago
Yes. Bullying can drive people to insanity. Too bad it ends like this.
- 1 decade ago
When I was a child, about the same age as Jaheem, I was bullied at school because I was a different colour and race. I child hung himself in a woodland next to the school a year before I joined that school. However, bullying went on. The teachers did not understand how to deal with it beacuse it was never talked about or admitted to. It was not good for the school image. That was in the late 60's. Although times have moved on, and there is more awareness to bullying, children have not changed because a lot of the bullys are themselves bullyed at home or come from a home where minorities or people who are different in any way, are talked about in a drogatory and violet way by the adults. A bully reflects the enviornment he/she come from. So how do we deal with that. When the bullying got too much for me I went to the head teacher and I told him that if the bullying does not stop, I will bring my parents and the police into the school and I will name names of pupils and teachers who have treated me in a racist way and verbally or physically abused me. Yes, one of the teachers in particular used to make fun of me infront of the class because, although I was put in the lowest stream for all the subjects (because I was different) I knew I was far better than that and I lways said I will go to university, when I was expected to end up on a factory shop floor or in as a shop assistant. Needless to say I wen to University and got a doctorate in science. After I told the headteacher of my plans he got together all the kids and teachers who bullied me (he knew them without me telling him, yet he did nothing before) and he sorted them out once and for all. I also started to learn Karate and it became common knowledge in school. No kid dared come near me after that. I went through immense torment and pain leading up to my taking control of the situation, and I had to do it on my own. To this day me parents know nothing of this. It left a scare in my life and yet it has taught me determination and self presevation. Many children and adults are bullied in all sorts of situations and those around them do not even know. It is time to take strong action on all fronts. To parents, please talk to your children on the subject of bullying, wether you suspect it or not, make it a normal sublect to be talked about in the home. Make the child feel that you are ready to help them with all the force you posses and that it is a crime and the police should be involved. Let them know that you will watch out for them in case of revenge from the bully and that you will never stop protecting them. Tell them that there is no honour in hiding the names of the bullys because bullying is a dishonrouble action of cowards and has to be stamped out. Let your child know that you will fight their corner in school, courts and on the street, if need be, against bullys. Let them know they are not alone or abandoned. Let them know if you have suffered bullying and how you dealt or should have dealt with it.
However, my heart goes out to the family of Jaheem, that innocent child! The bullys must be found and taken to the law, as well as the neglegance of the school in protecting the children in their care. This will not bring Jaheem back but may save another child from going the same way. Children like Jaheem always stay in the memory of people who hear his story. May he rest in our hearts forever.
- 1 decade ago
its horrible isn't it.