Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another Boy Kills Himself

I wanted to write today about the cats howling all the way up to Ogunquit, where the boys and I are spending April break. Or about how beautiful the ocean is, how it brings me to a place of calm. Or about a horrible meal we had at a restaurant I've recommended a bunch of times- that I no longer recommend.

But I can't. Another boy killed himself. Bullying again.

My heart is broken.

Jaheem Herrera was eleven. He hung himself in his closet. His mother complained repeatedly to the school that he was being bullied. Nothing happened. I read about this on Pam's House Blend and I have to wonder- what will it take?

Jaheem was harassed physically and verbally. They called him gay. He spoke with an accent.

A number of parents also complained about their children being bullied, too.

Nothing happened.

Nothing happened again.

There is something deeply wrong. We must demand change. We must enable teachers to do the right thing. We must teach our children tolerance. All the crazy talk about storms and the horrible fear that maybe LGBT people might be treated as equals has to stop. We need to all come together to help these kids. Whatever our religious beliefs our, it has to stop.

Kids too young to identify as any sexuality are being brought to levels of pain that leave them feeling they have no choice.

Another little boy is dead.

We need change now.

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31 Comments:

Blogger John Bisceglia said...

Devastating. I spent 20 years teaching children ages 4-12, and to think of where your average 11 year old is emotionally and mentally, (i.e. - developmentally), it is HORRIFIC that suicide was his only option.

I keep posting this line on my blog because I think it is important:

"It was less scary for Carl/Jaheem to kill himself rather than go to a school where hate speech went unchecked."

Public figures need to come out and be role models, and we need to directly contact ALL of our local schools and ask them what THEY are doing about this LIFE OR DEATH issue. These 2 boy's pictures should be on every corner as a reminder, and the media needs to obsess about THESE stories as they did Jon Benet.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Dawg said...

Until the federal government approves gay marriage situations like this will continue.

Canada is known for it's friendlies ... the states is known for the opposite.

It.Is.Sad.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Lula de Montes said...

I just wonder to what extent the rather testosterone-fuelled culture of the US (my perception from over here in Europe) contributes to this. There is much more emphasis in the US on being sporty, and a jock, I feel. I see this in my in-laws' family, who live in New England and Georgia. I am sure there is teasing, ribbing, bullying even, over here too, but I find that boys are less likely to be addressed over their sexuality and even if they are, they are never isolated to such an extent that they would consider suicide as the better option.
It breaks my heart that a child would resort to this. Whatever happened that children are no longer children? And sadder even, how is it that the educational system is failing these children?

5:25 PM  
Blogger Sue J said...

Lula, I think your observation is spot on. For a young boy to be called gay by bullies is for him to be called "not a man." It's disgusting and it has got to stop.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Lula de Montes said...

to be called 'not a man' - so strange. These days, I look at 11-17 yr olds and I really have to look twice at them. Styles here are converging and boys are looking increasingly girly with their long hair and tight tight jeans (think Sam Ronson with long shaggy hair). But to be honest, I can see how a kid like that would suffer in certain (not all) US schools.

8:36 AM  
OpenID acrookedkindofperfect said...

Did you watch Oprah yesterday? It was about Sexual Bullying and Depression and she had Carl and Jaheem's moms on there. Heartbreaking! Yesterday, my partner's 11yr old son was bullied at school and it all came out about us being lesbians. He's been teased for months, worried about telling us and he would hurt our feelings. Yesterday's Oprah came at a time when it was needed, we sat and watched and talked with him in depth on what he is going thru. I've been reading your blog for a while, and you've spoken very passionately on this topic. Thank you.
Always
Jane

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