Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New hate crime?

It is every parent’s nightmare seeing their child getting bullied at school and knowing you can only do so much. What happens when it goes too far and kids commit suicide? Who should be held accountable, if anyone at all? Since, everyone has had an interaction with bullies, whether seeing someone bully, being the bully or being the victim it is becoming more common. Kids bully each other at school, the bus, the internet, on the phone and other ways. So my question is who should be held accountable for kids who have just had enough?

Jamey Rodemeyer was a freshman in high school who was bullied for years for being gay. Although he was getting tormented by other students, he still tried to help others who were getting picked on by saying, “it gets better”. After nine days of high school, he was found hanging in the backyard by his sister who is a junior.

Jamey made an account on Form springs to post blogs and you can receive anonymous responses back. He got hateful messages from fellow students that egged him on by saying, “Just kill your self already” or “We would be better with out you”. This is hurtful to hear no matter how old you are. Even after Jamey’s death, his sister started getting ridiculed. The night of the wake, his older sister Alyssa went to their high school homecoming dance and got made fun of for being there and bullies were saying that they are glad he’s dead. Even after his death, his family is still hearing these hurtful messages.

Jamey was a big fan of Lady Gaga and loved what she stood for and the acceptance of everyone, so in his last video, she got brought up. When hearing what happened to Jamey, Lady Gaga dedicated a song to him, made a strong statement by saying bullying should be illegal and that she will be talking to the president about this important matter. Jamey impacted the lives of people he knew and even those who don’t know him, he is already making a difference.

So, what can be done with these bullies, because Jamey isn’t the first or the last victim of a hateful crime. At the event Lady Gaga brought up to President Obama how bad bullying is becoming, directly relating it to suicide. Lady Gaga is taking a great step by saying it should be illegal and that someone must be held accountable. It makes sense that it should be considered a hate crime, because a hate crime are crimes that gets motivated by hate of a member of a group whether it be gender, sexual orientation or race. Although, hate crimes are a physical crime that one does to another, it should also include suicide, especially in Jamey’s case.

Another way to help decrease bullying is to have teachers trained on how they handle bullying issues and reviewing and changing some bullying protocols. A different way could be having open communication with parents and teachers so kids don’t feel the need to hold all this in. These little steps can save lives.

Bullying can relate to what we are talking about in class because we talked about Deontological Theory which is moral obligation. The ones who witness bullying should ultimately go to a teacher or stand up for what is right. Although it is hard to do, it is the right thing to do and that should be all that matters. When in terms with the bullies, they have done the exact opposite of which we learned about in class, including Utilitarianism theory, principle of beneficence and the greatest happiness principle. They ‘disobeyed’ the utilitarianism theory whether by knowing or not thinking of the consequences of ones actions and thinking they will not be important. Regardless of what these bullies thought, they taunted Jamey and ultimately had a big contribution to his death.  With beneficence, the bullies did not do any good, and they promoted and provoked harm. The bully’s hurtful words prior to Jamey’s death had a big impact on his daily living and couldn’t take it any longer. Last of all, the greatest happiness principle, which was definitely not the case. The actions the bullies took were intolerable and malicious by not only insulting Jamey but his sister as well. Not only Jamey and his family were affected by his death but now millions heard of Jamey and it will be one step at a time until bullying becomes illegal. 



  1. I thought your article brought up a really good point. Bullying is an increasing issue that effects everyone, everywhere. Your example with Jamey was very persuasive in arguing that it should be increased to a hate crime. I think it is very admirable that he continued to speak positively for others dealing with the same hate as he did even up to the end. Since Jamey was gay, it is conceivable that in the future certain bullying against homosexuals could be considered a hate crime. Unfortunately bullying in general I don't believe will ever become a hate crime. Bullying can be so many different things against different people for different reasons. You dont even have to be considered "different" to be a victim of bullying. Parents and teachers need to help educate children on why bullying is so wrong. Teachers need to be active in keeping children supervised to help prevent bullying from occuring in schools. Unfortunately internet forums have created a whole new way for children to bully without any repercussions. Parents need to monitor what their children are doing on the internet. Overall I think your article was very relevant to our class!

  2. I feel your article addresses something that needs to be given more attention. I feel every so often the media will go on a frenzy about all the bullying stories, but nothing ever comes from it and eventually, the stories die down. I definitely feel that someone needs to be held accountable for bullying. Schools, teachers, parents, and the police should all be held more accountable for the bullying that goes on both in, and outside of school. The matter of the fact is, words DO hurt, and if someone hears something enough they may just start to believe it. I remember in school, maybe around third grade, we had an assembly about bullying. however, an hour-long assembly is not nearly enough to effectively deter and protect the victims and perpetrators of the bullying. I feel it should be a more open and free discussion in both the classroom and at home. While parents are not necessarily to blame if their child is a bully, or is being bullied, they can still influence the outcome.

  3. Your article addresses an ongoing problem. This is not the first time that I have heard about victims of bullying committing suicide. Unfortunately the victims are getting younger and younger. It was really disheartening to hear his own words state that it gets better but months later it seemed that this issue consumed him so much that he took his own life. This is a growing issue that it gaining media attention and it should catch the eyes of legislators and lawmakers. There have to be initiatives placed in these schools to try to contain this epidemic. Unfortunately this a problem that seems that it will be hard to take on because it is so much individual responsibility involved. Where is the line drawn? Where is harmless teasing that can resolved with kids turned into bullying. One thing that I feel can be done is for people not to ignore the signs or cries from help from these victims. The internet and cyber bullying is also something that needs to be addressed.

  4. This is a very sad story to hear about. Bullying needs to come to an end because it brings down so many people and makes it hard for them to think life is good. Jamey was a strong person but it shows that the constant bullying takes a huge toll on him. These bullies need to realize how simple words can hurt and bring down an individual so much. For someone to say "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make people WAY more happier!." Who raised this kid? I hope these kids who said these outrageous comments to Jamey have learned some life lessons. I do believe teachers need to be looking out for this 24/7 because this can bring so much pain into a persons life. Also, parents need to look at their kids Facebook or whatever social network their on to help prevent this. Very good article.

  5. Im really happy that someone choose to blog about this, i feel that bullying these days has gotten out of control and something needs to be done about it. When multiple young children begin taking there lives because the world is to harsh of a place to live in something must be done. I cant remember every being bulled in school but even little rude remarks then and now can hurt feelings and i can only imagine what it feels like for a young person to be tortured. No one should EVER be bullied to death.

  6. I feel really strong about this subject, I had friends growing up that got made fun of and was bullied all throughout school starting as early as grade school. I don't know why kids can be so mean, but bullying is something that needs to be re-thought and is probably the blame of a lot of suicides. People shouldn't have to be afraid to walk outside their house and get bullied so much that they aren't able to live their life. This is a growing problem, and school workers should be more involved in reaching out to students who they believe may be getting bullied. Parents as well should be watching what is going on in their children's lives. The internet is a big way people get made fun of and bullying is hard to even prove without hard evidence. Since the times have changed, law enforcement takes bullying more serious with the increase of suicides by young people, who's parents know that it was because of bullying. Though it is hard to prove that bullying influenced the death of a person, it's still considered individual action that led to the death.