Kameron Jacobsen, a 14-year-old freshman at Monroe Woodbury High School in Orange County, New York, has taken his own life. “Sources” say that Kameron was bullied over Facebook about being perceived as gay — so much so that the company has even released a statement about the boy’s death. Kameron’s death comes just two weeks after a junior football player also committed suicide.
At the high school they both attended, students tried to make sense of the incomprehensible — that two teens with everything ahead of them seemed to find life too painful. Principal David Bernsley said the sense of loss is excruciating and that they are doing their best to cope. “Our hearts go out to the families,” Bernsley said. “We’re devastated as a community.”
For Jacobsen’s family, the grief is beyond measure. Even with his death, online entries still sting. His older sister, Kierten, pleaded that people stop writing “rest in peace” entries and posting personal information about her baby brother.
Facebook issued a statement about the incidents: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of these students, and our hearts go out to their family and friends. These cases serve as a painful reminder of how people can help others who are either bullied or show signs of distress on Facebook. We encourage them to notify us, and we work with third party support groups including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to reach out to people who may need help. Our Safety Center also contains resources on how to help people who are in danger of harming themselves. These deaths are a loss to many, and it’s critical that we all work together to give hope to teens who may be feeling similarly.”
A Facebook group mourning his death reads: “Kameron Jacobsen was an amazing kid who went to Monroe Woodbury High School. He made lots of people smile and laugh. Kameron passed away on January 18, 2011. We all love and miss him. R.I.P Kameron.” We’ll have more details as they come in.
His “friends” (including facebook friends) say that this never happened, he was never bullied, and that everyone loved him. Personally, I think that’s likely either kids who don’t know the situation and what he was dealing with, or in denial. In any case, that’s now two more dead kids due to suicide, and with countless stories of teen suicides, youth committing violence, people 25 and under beating innocents, you have to really wonder, when will people start getting serious in uplifting the young, the future, of this country, and how many more people need to die in the process before we do. It’s just beyond sad at this point.
RIP to Kameron Jacobsen, and best wishes go out to his family, also RIP to the football player.
I don’t even know how to respond to these suicides anymore. As a nation, we have to to address this better. We’re not getting the message across to these bullies. There needs to be heavier consequences because this is happening all to frequently. Why are our teens so full of hate and anger? Looking back, we all went through the typical school yard taunting. Yet, it seems in today’s world – these kids are meaner and more aggressive. Gay, straight- when are we going to just get a long as human beings and stop all the finger pointing. This sickens me to my core!
Betty White was wrong. Facebook is not a complete waste of time.
It is far worse.
This isn’t Facebook’s fault. Kids would have bullied him at school or online.
All the attention we give to these suicides makes them trendy and more appealing to the mentally unstable people who consider suicide. We need to focus more on recognizing the signs of mental instability and taking action rather than glorifying the negative thoughts and making martyrs of those who commit suicide.
@Jack: That is a good first step Jack though it might also prove helpful to examine the social factors too (for instance, negative societal attitudes about not-heterosexually-perceived young people). Yeah, some folks might be constitutionally more prone to suicide, but the act does not likely happen in a vacuum.
Is it really that hard to you know… DELETE your Facebook profile and make it private to EVERYONE. How about controlling/deleting others comments which in the first place should be comments allowed from your friends.
If this kid really did kill himself over Facebook “bullying”, he’s an idiot.
@John…That’s a horrible thing to say. While deleting or setting your page to private is easy, it is just as easy to pose as someone the ‘victim’ knows and continue to harass them. You don’t know that it was only on Facebook. He could have been physically and verbally bullied at school, on the bus or in the locker room. Re read your post, you just called a dead child an idiot. You’re heartless. Please rethink what you write before you write it. Once its out there, its there forever. I can only assume you do not have children as I doubt a parent would ever say something like that.
I had a relative that worked in that school district…in the past 5 years this is, I believe, the 3rd suicide. While last year, a student had a ‘columbine’ like agenda because of bullying. The school district doesn’t help these kids.
This is a nationwide issue, an issue that has grown worse over the years. Back when I was a kid, you caught it at school and that was it. When you got home you were safe from the taunting. Now, the bullies invade your space at home as well as school and you feel that no where is safe. It is a VERY sad circumstance that should NOT be ignored.
I don’t understand all these suicides anymore. These kids HAVE to know that high school is over in a few years and you can go and do whatever the hell you want after it’s done with. Obviously it sucks for the time being, but is it worth killing yourself over? And John is right, you can just delete your facebook or make it very private so as not to get bullied on the site. Wouldn’t you rather just deal with not having a facebook even though all your friends do if it means you cut off the easiest way for people to bully your outside of school?
@Zeus: You and John obviously have no idea what it’s like to be 14 years old.
@Zeus: and I do not mean John is right calling the kid an idiot, just that he’s right that people should just take better measures at making their FB private or nonexistent if it is a problem.
@justiceontherocks: No, I know what it’s like to be 14 years old, but I personally cannot comprehend taking my own life over high school. I borderline hated high school, but at least personally I would never think to do something like that. So guess I just don’t understand.
@Zeus: I hope you never contemplate taking your life over anything. But these 14 year olds would just as soon stop breathing as to stop having the full run of social utilities. That explains a lot about why they don’t shut off the connectivity.
And as for John, the over the hill circuit party queen who tries to prove his manhood by trolling on the internet and insulting dead teenagers, there are no words to describe what a vile piece of scum you are.
Your right, it is a big thing to take your own life, but it does suck being a gay kid in highschool, being a junior myself… I know. The kids are all ignorant homophobic pricks and occasionally so are the teachers… It sucks even more when your like most teens, and still in the closet because then the people around you don’t even know how much there homophobic slurs can be affecting those around them.
And deleting your facebook is practically the equivalent of cutting all social ties with everyone, it’s how people connect these days, it is unfortionit but we interact more on facebook than we do in real life.
Anyone posting here knows what it’s like to be 14, because we were all there. *rolls eyes* These kids have access to stuff we never had when we were their age. We didn’t kill ourselves.
Anyway… John does raise a valid point. Lock your profile, make it PRIVATE. It’s not that difficult. I don’t understand why teenagers don’t do it more often. You don’t have to delete it, but you can make it “friends only” and block people who harass you. I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t do that….
Are kids really getting more crewel than ever? I don’t understand these punk ass teenagers. I was bullied in school maybe once, but I set the record straight and the bullying stopped.
Cruel* Sorry, I had a spelling blackout.
@DR: You don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t do that because you are not 14. You can’t evaluate someone’s conduct based on your life and what you understand, you have to crawl into their shoes. Can we please all not be so judgmental on someone just out of puberty for goodness sake.
Please phone the help lines..they can help….suicides leave alot of people who love them…
Jocks need help too…we hear ya!
First off i would like to say Kameron was not bullied because of his sexual orentation…….nor was he bullied, he was a great kid and our community and school and his family would like this to be taken down and let us greave without camras in our faces please thanks
This is why whenever a politician violates human rights a crowd should go to their home address and protest them every day until they step down from office.
Is it possible that the kids who are doing the bullying, don’t even recognize what they are doing?
Bullying is mostly psychological. The bullies think they are just dissing or taunting someone who is genuinely inferior, usually for the purpose of impressing the bully’s peers. But the one who is being bullied, perceives the same interaction very differently.
If this is the case, the anti-bullying media campaigns will be ineffective. If the bullies do not perceive that they are bullies, they will not pay any attention to the anti-bullying messages. Instead, it might be more helpful to define by example, and show the consequences, without the label.
I GO TO MONROE WOODBURY. THIS IS A SHAME TO MY SCHOOL. HE WAS NO CYBER BULLIED THE SCHOOL AND THE POLICE RELEASED STATMENTS CLAIMING THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE OR HISTORY OF CYBER BULLYING. EVERYBODY KNEW KAMERON LIKED A CERTAIN GIRL. THIS IS NOT WHY. HE WAS NOT GAY NOR CYBERBULLIED
What can be done? I am at a total loss. I really don’t know, and it’s sad and completely frustrating to see these kids killing themselves, gay or straight. A young life lost is a young life lost no matter who they are.
Who are the douchebags voting this story as “LOL”? Welcome to the Era of Insensitive Pricks. But what comes around goes around, so watch out, douchebags.
I am a close friend of the family and of Kameron. He was bullied in school and somewhat on Facebook. His parents tried to do something about it with the school, but the school screwed up and they know it. They threw Kameron under the bus instead of handling it sensitively.
He was so young only 14. He never got a chance to get a driver’s license, he never went to a prom, he never got to grow up and do all the things he should have done. He had a girl in school that he really liked and who knows if he even got his first kiss. Judging by how he talked about a few of the girls – I think he probably did.
But something was wrong and his parents saw it and couldn’t do anything about it – they tried. Now the school is trying to put the blame elsewhere (on FB) and the school is allowing the media to have a field day with this story. And the media is now trying to say it was gay-bashing. They are trying to sell papers and advertising – they want to sensationalize this more. It had nothing to do with sexual orientation and everyone knows this. No one in the family and no one who knew him in school and no one who was truly his friend said this to the press. They made it up. They took stupid comments from immature kids and are now trying to make it out to be this huge story about being gay. Stop using Kameron for your agenda. That’s all you are doing. You are killing the family. Leave them alone to grieve.
@John: You say this young man was an idiot. You obviously have never felt the overwhelming sense of rejection this young man did. I find it repulsive you feel the need to judge this young man and what he did. You cannot possibly understand what was going on his mind and to make such a harsh judgment shows how little compassion you yourself have. That’s my personal opinion of your take on the issue.
I’ve lost someone to suicide and your remarks just brought back all the emotions and grief from 24 years ago. My heart goes out to this young mans’ family. You have my deepest sympathies.
@Janine: My deepest sympathies and condolences to you and to his family.
It really pisses me off when people say “they don;t understand why someone would do something” (like suicide)
Ok if that is the case, “I don;t understand why two men would want to have sex with each other”. I guess since the bigot does not understand it makes it wrong?
It is not for you to understand what is another’s reasoning. In your old man eyes you may see that high school is only 4 years, but at 14 you did not have that perception. 4 years at 14 is nearly a third of your life AND really probably half of the life you can recall.
I wonder how many of those people who claim its “only four years” would feel about being in prison for “only four years”, or being beat up every day for “only four years”, or being treated like shit for “only four years”. I wonder how you would feel being homeless for “only four years”.
None of you assholes know what the kid was going through. BUT you want to recount how YOU made it through, so he should. You are all idiots. I wish people like you would start killing yourself, so the world would be a better place.
@Johnnya2 – is it the wrong time of the month?
@Steve: Yes, most of these kids don’t realize how damaging their actions are, and don’t see themselves as bullies. Which I realized watching this MTV “in my shoes” (something like that). Where the popular kids who bullied the less popular kids basically told their personal stories, and almost all of them were filled with emotional pain, familial issues, peer pressure. And the bullied gave their stories of the pain they felt in being unaccepted. Unfortunately, most kids these days, even many gays sadly, are completely removed from themselves and the real world. They are character, not real people living real lives. As Nate said, the way most kids interact these days is through facebook, twitter, myspace, texting. The youth have lost a sense of basically what it means to be a human being in every day society. They are emotionally vacant and lacking in priorities. The real blame goes on the parents and American society, which is so image conscious and success driven.
You’re advice is definitely good advice. What kids need is basically enlightenment and education on their actions and what they mean, and how what they do and say has such a negative impact on the lives of others.
Give it a rest with the “we’re not 14” argument. Again, I will remind you that everyone posting here was 14 at some point.
This isn’t about passing judgment, it’s a fact of life. Facebook’s privacy controls enable you to block people and make private your profile. My observation that he could have done either is just that, an observation. If you don’t lock your profile, and friend anyone, there are consequences you have to deal with, and if someone gets abusive there are plenty of ways to deal with it, including unfriending the abusers and locking your profile.
I’m not going to apologize for suggesting that suicide over Facebook bullying is a rather extreme solution to the problem in light of the ways to deal with it.
@DR: If you really think that just because you were once 14 you “know what that is like” then you are, as your posts indicate, as dumb as a box of rocks.
I think I know because I work with at-risk TEENAGERS, justice. Do you think this young man, were he alive today, would tell me anything I don’t hear on a daily basis?
I’m over this nonsense from people like you. What, now we’re not even allowed to observe that there are tons of online resources for these kids? We’re not allowed to point out the fact that if someone is abusing you online you lock your profile and report the abusers? We’re not allowed to state the obvious that back in the late 80s and early 90s we didn’t have nearly the number of resources these kids have today?
If you ignore those realities, you’re the one who’s as dumb as a box of rocks.
DeGuyz in Mississippi
Thanks for everyone’s support.
@DR: You said: “Do you think this young man, were he alive today, would tell me anything I don’t hear on a daily basis?”
I don’t know. Sadly he can’t speak. But based on what we’ve read so far I doubt seriously you would listen if he did. You keep confusing things kids could theoretically do with things their reality says they will do.
I give up. I wish you the best.
that guy with the goat beard looks like a douche.
Enough is enough. We can encourage people to be victims, or we can teach them how to emotionally protect themselves. Clearly you’re living in the victim mentality world if you think it’s asking too much of a teenager to block people abusing him online. Clearly you’re living in the victim mentality world if you think it’s asking too much of someone how claims to be harassed online to make his profile visible only to friends. Clearly you’re living in a victim mentality world if you can’t acknowledge all the resources these kids have available to them compared to those we had available to us at their age.
I work with enough teenagers who understand these simple concepts that I know they can do it, and will if they must. I only wish adults like you would acknowledge these realities, because teaching kids to be victims is a lousy way to live.
DR, thinking that you know everything and you know how to manage hard situations has made you forgotten that every single person is an INDIVIDUAL and that means that there are nobody on the planet earth like me or you. We all feel differently, live differently, love differently, perceive differently, what may seem divine to some may be disgusting to others, etcetera. Things that doesn´t affect you (because you think that everyone should be as heartless,souless as you) might be very significant to others, harmful to others and others won´t even give a [email protected]%& about it.
So, you must understand that we’re all different. I wish I had your tough-bulletproof skin.
I am a 17teen-year-old guy who attends to highschool, I know how being bullied feels like. It’s so frustrating because when you are a teen all you want to feel is that you’re loved and accepted and feel that you fit and belong somewhere.I have experienced the “being bullied situation” and still suffer of it. I must say that I have considered the option of commiting suicide a bunch of times in the past and don´t consider it any more because I’ve grown up and have realized that is a horrible thing to do and it leaves a lot of people in agony such as parents, family,friends ,etc.
As I said before we, teens don’t really understand why we are being bullied or rejected, we just want to be accepted and as someone said before when you’re attending to school you’re so young that it becomes almost your entire life and if such a huge and important part of your life is becoming hell,What would you think a vulnerable-inmature teen would do?
Besides I’ll tell you my own facebook story, so you can understand that is not just as easy as locking your profile or making it more private.
My facebook profile is very private,but still some classmates make fun of me writing stuff about me on their profiles,Tell me Dr Can I control that?Can I help other people from seeing that?
The answer is NO.Can I ignore it?Of course not!!!
It’s not just as easy as you say.Can I stop bullies from calling me name on the halls and the patios of the schools ? NO
So, I hope you see and get my point of view and testimony and make you change your mind about the subject .I hope you’ll eventually get to understand us, the bullied and harassed teen and kids someday.I hope you see the light
NO matter if you’re fat, skinny, goofy,gay,straight,bisexual,too clever, too studious or too lazy WE ARE ALL PEOPLE and everyone DESERVES to be RESPECTED just for the fact that we ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS.
DeGuyz in Mississippi
@DBEJ: I found when I was in school, the ones who did the name calling or physical attacks would only act in groups. Seldom did they act when they were by themselves. The ones who drew the most attention were only covering up their own secrets or shortcomings. We’re both glad you grew up in time to realize at the end of the day you will shine far above everyone who played a part in trying to hurt you. It doesn’t end in school. The lawmakers who are in place now to make the laws to protect are most likely guilty of the same ignorance we are trying to put a stop to. The same adults who exhibit hate today did it in school. They never stopped because no one ever made them. It’s an endless cycle. Today, they not only attack other adults the same way they did in school, they have positions of authority that allow them to do even more harm. They get away with it for the most part. http://www.deguyz.webs.com is such a story. The community tried for over 15 years to run us out. They failed. Now in their last attempt to finally get rid of the faggots, they failed again. But this time, they got caught. It wasn’t against both of us, they launched their attacks against James. In this case, they allowed his mother to die. He may have dismissed all the years of their ignorance directed at him, but they crossed the line when they directed their hate at his mom. She lived with us suffering from end stage Alzheimer’s disease. He managed to extend her life by 4 years beyond her doctors wildest imagination, and could very well still be alive today.The hate in Mississippi runs deep. Prosecution runs deeper. They have no idea what they have done. In fact, they think they got away with it because they all stuck together. Just like in school. The attorneys, judges,even the governor. They all played a part. The ace in the hole is, it was witnessed by the federal government. James continues to think them as he has been doing since 2005 and has beaten them at their own game.Everyone is equal, that’s the phrase that pays.http://www.facebook.com/pages/DeGuyz-in-Mississippi/163118500388873?v=wall When equal rights for all becomes the law of the land, you can thank the hate of Mississippi. They have made it possible. Jimmy
@DR: Clearly most of you have decided to ignore my post that Kameron Jacobsen was bullied in SCHOOL. The principal of the school tried to place the blame on Facebook and the internet in order to absolve them of their guilt in allowing another Monroe-Woodbury child to be bullied to death.
The newspapers, in their desperate need to sell a story, decided to make this a gay-bashing story. It’s not.
We should all be outraged when a poor child is bullied because of his sexual orientation, but this was not the case here. He was bullied for being a 90lb defenseless kid by a group of morons who have gone around and bullied others in the school.
If the gay media continues to report these untruths, then it will give others the opportunity to point this out and say you’re making it up and it will backfire. No one will listen. No one will believe you anymore..
The family is going through a really tough time. It’s hard enough their son/brother committed suicide. It’s hard enough they have to read the hateful comments left on his Facebook page. His friends and family are probably reading the comments left on these news pages. Some of these comments people are leaving are going to sting. Please don’t pour salt into an already deep wound.
I think that we all get it that Kameron Jacobsen was not “gay”, but was severely let down by the powers that be. Is it OK to say we are sorry for the abuse he suffered, and that he is no longer alive? At times like this, we are simply trying to make some sense of it all on a global scale, the same as you–family and friends of Kameron–are trying to do on a more personal level.
Like it or not, he was one of us–the victimized of the world–and it is on this basis alone that we claim him. May the day come when no one ever again has to feel that life is so without hope.
Thank you Blackmattachine. Your kindness and respect are greatly appreciated.
I’m sorry but I forgot to say that Kameron’s family and friends have all my respect and condolences.
When I told my story a few comments ago I wasn’t trying to say that the only way of bullying that really matters is internet.
I’m a 17-year old guy and I’m also being bullied at school as well as internet.
I think that our current world society is going through a very serious issue that is taking many young lives as its victims.
We should all be educated from a really young age in the love and respect doctrine instead of the current hate and intolerance old shibboleth.
It doesn’t really matter the reason why Kameron was bullied because it shouldn’t have never been like that. He should be alive and enjoy those years of adolescence that should have been the most wonderful years of his short life. Why did he have to miss that??? Because of the intolerance and hate of other insensate teens who were raised with hate ??? IT SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN LIKE THAT!!!!
If God wanted all of us to be so alike each other, why did he create us so different? To bully and harass the non-alike ones ??? Or was it to respect everyone as equals and live in a harmony-lovefull way?
When our world society finaly learns that hate will be finally defeated and erased from the earth and no more teenagers will take their lives because they weren’t accepted at school or anywhere else on earth!!!
I’m sorry but I don’t respect these families as some do. Personally, I think family issues played a role in this suicide. A family who was over-controlling and non-accepting. Any family who feeds their children to the wolves and doesn’t care or accept them is not a family I can respect.
I can´t believe you just said that. I agree with you when you said that families who don’t accept or respect their children should not be respected but I can’t believe you think that there are some families who “feed their children to the wolves” or to the bullies in this case. I know what is like to be bullied and I must say that I haven’t told my parents yet about it. The most of the bullying victims seldom tell their parents about what they’re living or going through. I’d say that all parents would never let it happen if they knew their kids are being harassed by their class-schoolmates. Bullying often goes with threatening by the aggressors, or the kids just feel too scared, too embaressed, too overwhelmed or even too misunderstood to tell anyone so I think it’s really selfish and cruel to say that. You should watch your words because wounds heal but words cann’t be taken back.
The law on this is clear. The parent or legal guardian is responsible for the well-being of their children. Responsible for the safety. Responsible for the health including their mental health. Suicide is preventable. The parents are responsible.
Yes some suicides MIGHT be preventable but not all. You have to consider that many bullying cases are totally ignored by parents and it’s not because they weren’t regardful of the situation it’s because they haven’t become aware. Teens usually regard bullying as something really painful or embarassing so they hide from their parents and act totally normal at home almost like nothing’s happening to them.
Parents should be on the alert and always analize their children’s demeanour very carefully to try to identify any signs of abuse or harassment, but it’s usually pretty hard to notice something weird if children try to hide it and act normally.
1. Does the child know who to report bullying to? Have they been told what to do? Whose responsiblity is that?
2. Does the child feel that they can openly communicate their problems with their parents? Whose responsiblity is that?
3. Does the parent have concern for their children’s safety and health? Do they show an interest, do they ask questions of the child? Do they ask questions of the school? Whose responsility is that?
Parent’s responsibility for their children doesn’t end when they place them into school. By sending them to troubled schools, the parent is, in effect, feeding them to the wolves. The parent must know what is happening to their child in school That is their RESPONSIBILITY!!!
I attend school at Monroe Woodbury,I am a friend of Kameron Jacobsen. He was not gay and he was not bullied. Gay people are just using this for their own means. No one knows why he killed himself and no one will but him. I think because they glorified Justin death so much that when kids see this they think hey that will happen when I die. Sadly when kids write on Justin’s or Kameron’s wall that I will see you in Heaven, its not true because you go to hell its a sin and kids should be told that. Then maybe they would think about their actions. They are dead and arent coming back, people need to leave this in the past and hope to prevent this in the future. Ohh and to the people who wrote dick thingss FUCKK YOU you didnt even know him FAGS. Whoever said that hes an idiot i hope you burn in hell. kayy baii
I’m deeply sorry that somepeople think someone’s trying to glorify Kameron’s death. That’s nonsense and absolutely ridiculous!!!!!! I had no idea that people like Kristen knew where people goes when they die. Kristen you are NOBODY to determinate if Kameron is in heaven or if he is in hell, you’re just an ignorant religious bigot who thinks that everything is ruled by heaven or hell. Besides, you should know that God judges the purpose over the act!!! Only God can impart justice and if Kameron ever has to report back to someone that person will be GOD not you!!!!
No one’s trying to glorify Kameron’s death, everyone’s saying that it should have never happened and we’re all sorry for that!!
Analize what you say because some say you’ll die and you’ll be remembered and judged by your words!!
I’ve heard this BS before .. exploiting his death for their own agenda. Hey, gays are the only ones who covered his story, the only ones to give him some attention in death that he didn’t recieve in life by his family and peers.
I’m pleased Facebook has made this public statement, but online support needs to be there, via a report-this-user hyperlink followed by a list of reasons, such as is on YouTube’s safety page, cumbersome though that currently is.
As for people who are debating over this Heaven or Hell bullshit, I think these evangelical ‘Christian’ hate preachers are the worst possible advertisement for their particular extremist sects. Imagine being sentenced to spend eternal life with them. Most sane people would be checking out of Heaven asap if that’s the sort of people they’re going to be stuck with for all time. Who wouldn’t rather spend time in ‘the other place’ with their gay-supportive families and friends? I know I would!
There are more than 34,000 denominations of Christianity on the planet, so one can easily find a religion to suit one’s prejudices, and budget. Go Google it and you will find out. Many nowadays ordain openly lesbian and gay clergy, and warmly welcome LGBT parishioners into their congregations with open hearts, open arms and open minds, clearly not something that they;ve been blessed with.
But in our war against unreasoning hate, they’re kinda doing us a favour, because they remind us that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.
hard to even realize whats happining when it does. my cousin took his life from the same thing. thoughts and prayers go out to you
To anyone who labels a defenseless 14yo child who has just suicided, ‘an idiot’ just because he didn’t make himself a recluse on Facebook by privating everything, I’d like to make this response:
Such a comment makes it clear you lack empathy. It’s apparent you feel no concern for your fellow man when he’s in trouble, only contempt, however the majority of humane comments to this page suggest you’re in a very small minority. Love of your fellow man as demonstrated by self sacrifice, lending a helping hand when it’s most needed has long been held as one of the noblest attributes of humanity. It is extolled in the parables of Jesus Christ, but is not the exclusive prerogative of the religious. I am not religious, but I still find stories of teenage suicide utterly heartrending.
If as a society we were not interested in defending the vulnerable, we would have no health system and no military. Instead we would just tell our fellow countrymen it was their own stupid fault for getting sick, and we would tell them to grow balls and stick up for themselves during an invasion, just as you have said to the young corpse of Kameron Jacobsen.
Having said this, one of the most important lessons to be learned from the parable of the Good Samaritan is that our duty is not to nanny the victim forever, but to help them to help themselves. This means we have to look after the downtrodden until they’re able to cope, and then equip them with the tools for survival on their own by teaching them how to deal with bullies.
Telling someone to shut himself off from the outside world on Facebook, while other people have freedom to roam, is exactly analogous to telling a bullied child to go sit in the school library every lunchtime so as to avoid confrontation with gay bashers.
Gay kids have a far tougher time because at home, they’re often emotionally and physical abused, and commonly rendered homeless by homophobic parents. If they’re unloved at home, hated by their schoolmates, called evil by their church and ignored by education authorities, then it makes complete sense from their point of view to end their life of nothing but misery. Who would want to live in a world of contempt, where your daily experience reminds you that there is no hope?
If after reading this, you still don’t care, then I’d encourage you think at least of the financial cost of bringing into the world a brand new human being, housing, clothing, feeding and educating them for 14 years, only to never get a penny back in taxes, because they were driven to suicide by a wall of hatred. It makes far more economic sense to have viable citizens leaving our schools, ready to work and start giving back to the community that sustained them for 18 years.
He wasn’t gay.. and he wasn’t bullied because he was perceived gay. No one knows where this got started. He came from a loving family. We have a huge hole in our hearts and we will miss him and love him forever.
Parents will read that he was bullied for being gay or perceived gay and will shrug and say “oh well he probably did something to piss people off and since my kid isn’t gay, it won’t happen to us” and the real issue of classroom (or internet) bullying won’t be addressed. It can happen to anyone.
Also, homophobes can look at these news items that are false and say “the gays and lesbians are making it up for their own agenda” and you will lose credibility.
Regardless, Kameron isn’t here and we are all grieving and sad and angry and we will never ever be the same. His parents, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, grandmother and cousins will continue to love him just as we always did and will miss him always.
You raise a number of points that I’d like to address. First, the word ‘gay’ no longer just means ‘homosexual’, and it’s been decades since it meant ‘lighthearted and carefree’. The word ‘gay’ is now also used as a universal putdown, particularly by teenagers, and is not intended under such circumstances to impugn a person’s sexual orientation. Similarly with the word ‘faggot’.
Under such usage, even a person who is avowedly heterosexual, and who is acknoweldged by his peers to be heterosexual, may still be called ‘so gay’ as a put down. This adds a new dimension to our problem, because it implies that someone is ‘so bad, they’re as bad as it would be to be homosexual’, thereby showing undisguised contempt for homosexuals as a particular breed.
Secondly, you mention that we may encounter criticism of “making it up for their own agenda”, and I agree this is very common. However it occurs no matter whether the statistic we cite is true or not – we are always accused of making it up for our own agenda. Nevertheless, the great majority of activists can see nothing but disaster ahead as a result of cooking the books, and strive to use only reputable, peer reviewed and properly sourced data. Yet once a story gets legs like this, it can become a piece of folklore that is very hard to repudiate.
Finally, while I’ve no doubt you’re confident that Kameron was not gay, to me that is very much capable of being construed as some kind of redeeming feature – “oh he wasn’t gay, so we should be taking this one seriously, after all, straight people matter more than gay people”. I’m sure you don’t mean that personally, but a lot of people do, and you are right, it can happen to anyone.
Gay people don’t always tell everyone they’re gay, and oftentimes, they’re not obvious, hence the shock when some parents find out – they had no idea until the day their son told them the truth. So the fact is, you may never *really* know 100% for sure. The most important thing of all is you truly loved him, and now you will never see him again. I am very sorry for that.
It is a very sad & all to often what is perceived as a way out for too many young people today. Parents & family are first & foremost influences in kids lives.
If a child is reared from a young age to have self esteem, be proud of who they are & are given life skills of self respect & respect for others, they will age as more capable young adults, enabling them to deal w/the difficulties that do come w/puberty & growing up. Too many families today are just not a stable force for too many young people. They look to their peers for acceptance & their value & base their self image on what their school mates & friends put out toward them. If they had a strong sense of self all along, they wouldn’t rely as much on others, that are just as young & vulnerable as they are, to give it to them.
Schools everywhere should be much more on top of what is going on w/bullying & have a ZERO tolerance for any of it. There should be special counselors available for kids to go to, who can help them confidentially, sort out feelings of inadequacy, or rejection from peers, a ‘crush’ interest or family. These counselors should see ‘red flags’ & take the necessary steps to get the youngster the help he/she may need & put a lid on any secrete bullying that may be going on, that the school is not openly aware of.
It is not just one area, but a combined effort of parents, siblings, school teachers, counselors & principal, to work together, to make sure the kids are not falling thru the cracks in life. People need to make a conscious effort to be more aware of what is going on in schools, home & w/friends of their kids. No computers in rooms, but in the OPEN areas of a home, so things are monitored better, at least there, anyway.
No parent can monitor or protect their kids 24/7, but when they have the stable ground laid out for them at an early age, it CAN make a difference as they spend more time outside the home on their own w/their peers & friends. Keep an open door of communication w/your kids, always. Don’t make them afraid to come to you about things going on in their lives. Don’t trivialize things that are important to them. LISTEN to them. Sit down, look at them. Don’t be distracted w/dishes or laundry. SIT & spend time talking to your kids daily. Even just 15 minutes of NON confrontational or judging time a day, to let them know is just for you & them & what they have to say about anything for that day, could make all the difference in the world, to a kid w/a heavy heart or head over something.
Never underestimate the value of a good compliment or encouragement in some small way…DAILY. A kid who feels connected well to a parent, is a kid that will not be as hesitant to go to one, when times get too tough on the outside.
What a load of crap. Social networking and internet in general is RUINING everyone’s lives. What do you do when someone harasses you on the internet? You deleted the comments and block that person. If it still happens then you DELETE your page.
Facebook isn’t the end all be all. You can survive without a facebook page. We have cellphones, home phones, text messages, skype, emails, etc. You don’t need a facebook page to be a part of society.
I am 23 and I very vividly remember the hellish days that I had in high school. I was teased, picked on, and bullied. I came out alright.
What parents need to be telling kids is that people are always going to be mean, that some times all you need to do is ignore the person and if they persist them you tell someone. Sometimes all you have to do is ignore the person, let it roll off your shoulders, and kill them with kindness.
Parents need to be more proactive in their kids lives. They need to be able to see the kids pages and if not then they need to make sure that ONLY the kid’s friends are on the page.
Internet time is not monitored anymore. Maybe if kid’s didn’t have access to internet 24/7, and parent’s took more time to find out what’s happening with their children this type of thing could be avoided.
@Jessica: While what you say is true in the sense that to escape hate, a person can cut themselves off from all known means of communication until the haters can’t get near them, that ultimately means the haters win, because they force to you to coil up into a shell. Shutting off Facebook, only means bullies will find another means of communication to hate you, and that includes face to face hate that those who are bullied face every day.
Once a person gets such an overwhelmingly negative self image from being hated on by everyone around them and sometimes by their family and church too, they rightly come to the conclusion that they are better off dead. Such a decision to end their life makes complete sense. Death to them is so much better than their life of friendless misery.
So while your observations make practical sense, I’m afraid people who are at the end of their tether don’t think rationally. To end the pain, they end their lives. It’s pointless saying all this now to Kameron Jacobsen, he’s dead, by his own hand. Intervention was needed long before this happened.
Kids are not smart enough or experienced enough to see the world through your 23 year old eyes, or my 58 year old ones; to them, driven entirely by emotions, it’s all too impossible. They need the helping hand of adults who care.
Mom of teens
@John: Sounds like YOU are the idiot!!!! Your comment was pathetic!
Adults’ behavior are no different from teens’ these days and they pass these to the kids knowingly or unknowingly. Just read the comments from adults online anywhere and you know what I mean. Even on this page, read the angry and confrontational exchanges between posters that are downright offensive and bullyish such as name calling, cursing,….etc and we wonder why kids are what they are these days.
It is hard to be truthful. I think kids can be cruel however adults are even worse. Faculty at High Schools should take a stand on this. I’m married to a Palestinian and I post thoughts on Huffington post- anything from GAZA to JAMES DEAN to being GAY. I guess this paper is liberal so that is why I joined. I was suprised to see people get upset over a comment. I do remember in High School boys would tease me cause I’d like to draw girls- yes I do find GIA- that movie sexy however I’m married. The United States is suppose to be an enlightening society in that we accept different people. I like to return to Athens as many Greek Philosophers wrote & held elections, came up with telepathy and my favorite Democritius believed God. This was before Christ died. In there time many looked at Athens as the hub of informaion they broke down the hyrgryplics so the common man could read and write. The made plays and Alphabet we use today. The were free thinkers even it it meant death. I just know I have a bit of Athens in me.
In Facebook I’ve had a few classmates tell me they were sorry. I do forgive them some more than others- but the reason I do write today is that it was fostered in Newport, OR. The girl just hated me for no reason other than I was pretty I presume. But I’m glad she did because when it happened in the real world I knew how to deal with it. I am a contributor for Associated Content. I’m glad she came forward but when my book is published it will help her understand it.
I work as an Apartment Manager & this past May my neighbor in the studio next to me told me her sister had hung herself. Then I learned how much her sis was creative and was a school teacher. I tried to help her, but she kept saying you don’t understand. No it’s not my Sister. But I know what it’s like to lose someone. Because I enjoy to write I was distraught when I heard of Michael Hutchins. We all need to look out for each other and it is O.K. to reach out and help someone.
This is soo sad the teachers and parents should have done something.
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