Just a few weeks ago, after years of being bullied by classmates, taunted and teased for his sexuality, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life outside of his suburban home in Buffalo.
According to Jamey’s family, the 9th grader had been teased since he was in the 5th grade. “He would come home crying and we would have to talk to him… sometimes on a daily basis,” says his mother, Tracy. Last year someone from his school anonymously posted a message online saying, “Jamey is stupid, fat and ugly. He must die.” I wouldn’t care if you died. :) No one would -- just do it. It would make everyone way more happier.”
On September 9th, 2011, Jamey wrote online, “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens.” Nine days later on September 18, around 1:30 in the morning, he wrote a message to Lady Gaga, “Bye Mother Monster... Thank you for all you have done... Paws up forever.”
Later that morning, Jamey’s 14-year-old sister Alyssa discovered his body, hanging lifeless from their family swing set, outside of their home. “It is the same swing set that he was on since he was three years old. That we built special for them,” his mother tells Anderson.
Jamey loved his family, video games and Lady Gaga. He took comfort in Gaga’s lyrics of self acceptance. In a video message he posted, telling kids not to bully, he said, “We were born this way. Hold your head up and you’ll go far.”
In a recent concert, Lady Gaga dedicated a song to Jamey. Her message to him: “You’re not a victim, you’re a lesson to all of us.”
In this moment from Anderson’s interview with Jamey’s family, they give their reaction to Gaga’s tribute...
After Jamey’s wake, Tracy and Timothy encouraged Alyssa to join her friend at their school’s Homecoming dance. At the dance, just three days after Jamey was buried, a group of his bullies started yelling that that they were glad he’s dead.
Over the years, Anderson has reported on many deaths due to bullying. After each one he learns the new name of a child who has taken their life, he hopes it’s the last. A lot of schools and communities are much more aware of the problem of bullying, but kids are still dying. So many of these kids’ voices are never heard. They suffer in silence.
Today’s show is dedicated to the memory of Jamey Rodemeyer and Kameron Jacobsen, as well as all of the other children we’ve lost to bullying-related suicide.