Buffalo Teen Commits Suicide, Parents Say He was Bullied

4:30 PM, Sep 22, 2011   |    comments
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Jamey Rodemeyer

WILLIAMSVILLE, NY - Tracy and Tim Rodemeyer say they're speaking out to help others avoid the nightmare they're going through right now. They say early Monday morning, their son, 14-year old Jamey, was found dead after an apparent suicide. He left no note. But they say he was bullied for years in middle school. Jamey even talked about it on a video he made on YouTube in May.

"People would just keep sending me hate, telling me that gay people go to hell," Jamey said in the video.

"It was a constant taunting," said Tracy. "The same people over and over."

The bullying got so bad the parents went to the school about it. Tracy and Tim say the school tried to stop it and succeeded at times. Jamey also went through counseling and learned to deal with it better. But it was tough. The bullies were mean.

"People would say, you're like a girl or whatever and then even some of them would say what are you gay," said Tracy. "And he did not like when he was being called those things."

Tracy says Jamey questioned his sexuality and they talked about it openly as a family, and that for the last year, he was doing well.

Jamey just started high school at Williamsville North three weeks ago. And his parents say he loved it.

"He was saying how great school was going, how happy he was, his grades were great," said Tim Rodemeyer. "[There was] No indication that he was in pain."

But Jamey's friends shined a different light on the situation after his death.

"They saw that the bullying was still happening but Jamey was handling it well," said Tracy. "It was nothing that he or anybody was concerned on."

"Do you think it just got to the point where he just couldn't handle it anymore?" 2 On Your Side's Josh Boose asked Tim, Jamey's dad.

"Yeah, I think so," Tim replied. "I think that's what happened. He fooled everybody. He put on a brave face and I wish he wouldn't have."

Tim and Tracy say they have a message for other parents:

"They have to teach their children to stand up for themselves and their friends and stop the bullies from bullying people," said Tim.

"It took him away from our family way too early and we're just convinced that he had a purpose on this planet and it was to touch as many people as he could," said Tracy.

And Jamey too was touched by someone: Lady Gaga.
He made a collage of himself at different stages in his life with Lady Gaga in the background. Jamey's parents say he embraced her theme of acceptance and equality.

Tracy and Tim think Jamey was put here to show people that being different is ok and that bullying is wrong and perhaps more of a problem than many realize.

"I think that was my son's number one mission in life, why he was put here a short time was to get that point out," said Tracy."And if that means I have to carry it on for him, I will."

Amherst Police are investigating the exact cause of Jamey's death. As of Monday night, they would not comment.

Williamsville Central Schools sent a letter home to parents explaining what happened. Grief counselors were on campus Monday.

Click here for more on suicide prevention week and local suicide prevention resources throughout Western New York.

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