Jason Shaw’s article first published as No Charges In The Jamey Rodemeyer Case on Technorati.
No charges for Jamey’s Bullies.
The verbal bullying and anti-gay slurs endured by Jamey Rodemeyer in the weeks and months before he took his own life may have been “insensitive” and “inappropriate”
but are not a prosecutable offense.
The Amherst Police investigators sent the troubled teens’ computer and mobile phone off to a forensics lab last month, with a view to help determine whether anyone should be prosecuted for the bullying he often talked about. They have also interviewed Jamey’s family, friends and peers which uncovered at least five bullying episodes at Williamsville North High School, where he’d just begun his freshman year.
“He was exposed to stresses in every facet of his life that were beyond what should be experienced by a 14-year-old boy,” Police Chief JohnAskey told reporters during a news conference at police headquarters.
“I’m not satisfied, to be honest,” said Askey, adding that officers had devoted hundreds of hours to the investigation. “I would like to have seen something we could have done from a prosecution standpoint.”
Tracy Rodemeyer had told the police and the media that her son was hurt deeply by words from the onset of bullying, with other boys on him in elementary school, “People would say, ‘Oh, my God, you’re such a girl. What are you, gay?’ That kind of stuff,” she said back in September. By middle school, the bullying was overwhelming, his friends would report the abuse, she said in an interview, and school officials would pull Jamey and his tormenters into the office.
Jamey posted a lot on his blog and even made an It Gets Better video for other gay teens, he often talked about getting bullied. Anonymous posts on a Formspring account Jamey had opened said “Kill yourself!!!! You have nothing left!” and “Go kill yourself, you’re worthless, ugly and don’t have a point to live.” Even though no criminal charges
are to be launched, chief Askey said there were other consequences. “The fact that it can’t be prosecuted shouldn’t be the measuring stick here. I think people know that it’s inappropriate, know that it’s unacceptable. …
I think a message has been sent,” Askey added. “The bullies’ “friends know who they are and their peers know who they are and they know that it’s completely unacceptable in the eyes of this community, this police department and their peers.”
It shouldn’t take a death to make people realise that bullying is wrong, regardless of the cause, or purported cause. We as a society should take responsibility and challenge bullying behaviour in whichever form it takes, sending a clear message that it is wrong, that we cannot and will not accept it. We should not expect children to stop bullying if we adults are setting the wrong example by condoning bullying.