idiot logic

We’re Supposed to Believe Jaheem Herrera’s Classmates Called Him ‘Happy’


In Pakistan, it’s apparently possible to interchange the words “happy” and gay” — at least to one open lesbian, who is both. But shockingly, the retired Superior Court judge hired by Jaheem Herrera‘s school to review whether anti-gay bullying led to his suicide decided that students who were calling him “gay” only meant to declare the 11-year-old boy was “happy.” It’s a farce.

Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore (pictured, below), who was hired by the DeKalb School System (currently being sued by Jaheem’s mother Masika Bermudez), found nothing wrong with kids throwing the word at Jaheem.

The Southern Voice quotes Moore last week at a press conference: “The children use ‘gay’ for anything and everything. The clothing is gay, the gesture is gay, what they say is gay, and that is a term they use. Now with these students we asked them, ‘Well, what does gay mean?’ They said ‘gay means happy,’ and this is many of the students.”


Well that certainly excuses things! No wonder Moore — a friend to environmentalists, apparently — allowed herself last month to conclude it was the recent family deaths Jaheem was dealing with that led him to hang himself with a belt, and not the torment he was subjected to at school.

Too bad even David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, understands kids use the word “gay” almost exclusively as a pejorative: “With kids that age, they know it’s a derogatory comment. Some know what it means, some don’t, but they think it’s an insult.”

Moore’s finding effectively leaves the Georgia school district off the hook for wrong-doing, at least internally (Bermudez’s lawsuit remains). The conclusion also shows the stunning failure of the school to police itself and begin a satisfactory attempt at preventing another incident like this from happening.

Even if Jaheem’s classmates didn’t know the sexual semantics of what it is to be “gay,” they understood full well how to use the word in a negative context. It’s also unclear whether students’ name-calling branched out into more obvious derogatory terms, like “fag” and “homo,” but we’ve prepared ourselves to fear the worst.

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  • Fitz

    How he was treated was awful & unforgivable. I don’t want to take away from that. But I do want to say that lots of us easily-identified homos were bullied mercilessly. Something MORE happened that pushed this kid.

  • uwyoalum

    I am sure that if he was called a fag the other students were just saying he was a British cigarette or a bundle of sticks; and if he was called a homo they were saying that he was homo sapien.

  • Rando

    Everyone knows a kid will use “gay means happy” to get out of trouble. That’s half of the “joke” itself.

  • Bitch, please!

    Reminds me of how some whites use the “N” word, and then explain it saying that it is how a person behaves and has nothing to do with color. Oddly enough, they only use it towards the whites only when they feel that they were “acting” like blacks. The judge looks mixed or black to me. Wonder how she would feel if someone called her a nigger and gave that moronic explanation?

  • Mickey's mouse

    @Rando: I agree, i think the kids are really just trying not to get in trouble. They figure they killed him by taunting him and their jeers and taunts would make them accessories to his death. It’s all about self-preservation, and i know full well that children will not use this term lightly or in jest. In working with children, I’ve found they use it derogatorily then, when called upon it, they’ll deny using it in that way.

  • John (yet another John)

    “Gay is used for everything”–what a lie! Everyone knows it is used in a derogatory fashion, period. Don’t blame the children for this farce. There was a responsible adult charge with investigating the truth. Instead she chose to make a farce of her responsibility. The innocent blood of Jaheem and the next victims are on her head. A serious investigation might have saved the next victims. We can expect to see such actions to continue. This is a sickening outcome!

  • TomL

    When the kids said, “Gay means happy,” she should have asked them “So, you’re gay, too?” I don’t think she would have drawn the same conclusion.

  • kevin vancouver

    Is this some kinda of fucking joke? No seriously…wtf is wrong with that woman,kids are cruel and have been since who knows when.. they all new what gay meant.. perhaps they didn’t when I was young since kids hurled around words like sissy or Fifi or any other word that ended up emasculating someone, because feminine is weak right! and its all about survival of the fittest… woman give your head a shake..

  • kevin vancouver

    disregard typos!

  • Adam

    @Bitch, please!:
    I have, in fact, just had a screaming argument with someone over that very issue a few days ago.

    The world is full of delusional people who also happen to be running on hate.

  • Gary

    The children use ‘Faggy’ for anything and everything. The clothing is Faggy, the gesture is Faggy, what they say is Faggy, and that is a term they use. Now with these students we asked them, ‘Well, what does Faggy mean?’ They said ‘Faggy means cigarette,’ and this is many of the students.

  • Gary

    @Gary: What I meant to add above is that this hasn’t changed much since my schooldays in the 60’s-70’s. Same argument, different term.

  • adamblast

    @[email protected]Fitz: So you’re personally sure that gay-baiting and gay-related bullying aren’t enough to drive a kid to kill himself? Based on what, your tea leaves? Or that most of us *have* survived it?

    Get real. The gay youth suicide rate is goddamn astronomical compared to straights. We do not all have the same sturdy egos.

  • Bri

    @Rando: Exactly. When I was a kid these boys who would pick on me would try to trick me into saying I was gay. I was probably in 1st grade and didn’t really know what the word meant. They would say “Are you gay? Gay means happy” If I had answered yes I’m sure they would have laughed. Little kids know what the word means – this lady is just plain stupid.

  • Fitz

    @adamblast: That’s my point. Something MORE than what the rest of us went though compromised his ego strength.

  • Bri

    @Fitz: I understood what you meant.

  • Gary

    When I was something like 13 I couldn’t take the taunting and bullies anymore, so I went into my parents closet, pulled out my fathers hunting rifle & tried to figure out how it worked so I could end the torture. . .fortunately, my parents kept the ammunition hidden/locked up & my mother walked in on me. The result was they sent me to a pshychiatrist thinking that I was having issues about being adopted.

    The bullies never did stop.

  • David

    I live in Tampa and we just had one the most shocking things happen in one of our middle schools four fourteen year old Boys who Bullied another boy and then at the school they sexually assulted this boy during school and they were goining to be tried as adults but the DA decided not to so the boys were released to there parent custody talk about sad but what would you expect from a DA thats a Republican.

  • TheBigotBasher

    Kids do use, that is so gay in a light hearted way and not necessarily as a term of abuse. She is correct that it is not always an insult. However they are also quite prepared and able to use it as a term of abuse. This should have been obvious to Judge as it is obvious to anyone else.It is not what things are said, it is how they are said. The judge should be ashamed of herself.

  • Jhon

    The school is shameful for letting this happen and the judge is absurd.

  • alan brickman

    bullying is wrong for everybody…

  • TheBigotBasher

    @Jhon: Exactly. Tere needs to be just as much criticism for the school as the judge. They failed in their duty of loco parentis. They have blood on their hands.

  • a

    can we get a phone number for this bitch

  • spindoc

    And if somebody called that judge a bitch…it’s ok because he was only referring to a female dog’s proper name.

  • ProfessorVP

    Obviously the DeKalb school district shopped around and found
    Moore or was familiar with this retired judge and cut a deal with her. But I don’t see why this bitch is the last word, has the final say, and gets the school district off the hook for really being complicit in the kid’s death. The family can get their own expert, can’t they?

  • rick

    who droppd this bitch on her head when she was a baby? how can this woman be a judge and yet be so fucking stupid?

  • Joanaroo

    This whole situation is so sad. The bullying plus the recent deaths mentioned likely mean this poor kid was so depressed he felt death was his only way out of misery. This judge and the school district are totally at fault and should both be held responsible for not finding a solution to a situation that will happen again and again. Kids are mean and something needs instituted as punishment and also a no-tolerance of bullying policy strictly enforced.

  • Dennis

    She’s exactly right…like when I refer to her as a “stoopid nigga bitch”, it’s really a term of affection…Like how hip-hop artists used to use stupid as ‘outrageous’ or extraordinary, and nigga as a term of ‘affiliation’ or recognition, and everyone knows that a bitch is a ‘tough woman’…so I think everyone should contact her office and let her know what a stoopid nigga bitch we all think she is…I’m sure she’d appreciate the compliment.

  • Synnerman

    That “judge” is a tool.

  • Andrew W

    So strange. First of all, how is asking kids what they meant a reasonable test? Kids aren’t going to admit to something that will get them into trouble. Second; we know gay is not a bad word. We who identify as gay fully recognise that it’s a word that describes a good and awesome thing. But we also know that words that describe good and awesome things can also be used as insults.

    If a boy was hounded by his classmates calling him a girl, would they conclude that no insult was intended because there’s nothing wrong with being a girl? It’s true that there’s nothing wrong with being a girl, but a boy could still feel abused and maligned if being bullied with that label. How can they miss the point so massively? How can they not understand the distinction between what a word means and how it is used?

  • mark

    Sacramento HATE JOCKS advocate beating and abusing trans KIDS

    THIS case should be what is used to make the legal case for Community Standards, there should be a line in the sand, ANY broadcaster or station which advocates verbal abuse, physical abuse, and death of a child, ANY CHILD…you aren’t on the air…..PERIOD
    If you had substituted doing this to a female child, a disabled child, a racially mixed child, a poor child
    THERE STATION would be GONE!

  • 33mhz

    She’s ignorant and irresponsible. By which I mean joyful and carefree: ignorance is bliss, after all.

  • Rob Moore

    @Bri: I am a resident of the county in which this boy committed suicide. The judge is not ignorant. She knows exactly what she is doing. The county has been majority black for quite a number of years. Most of the county power base is black. All this has proved is that black politicians protect each other just like the white segregationist politicians who preceded them. This judge is protecting the administration of the the school system, which is largely black and is paying her to protect them. To paraphrase a local black politician about 10 years ago, “a black person cannot be a bigot. Only white people can be bigots.” The fact that this young boy was mixed race, meant he was not generally accepted by black children.

  • Wen

    If someone is offended or bullied, as the boy was, the judge’s task is to review the effects on the victim (how he felt because of it), not the intention of the perpetrators (whether intended or not). Thats how it goes where I live (Netherlands).

  • Barbara s

    This Judge knows those kids weren’t calling that poor child “happy”. Enough is enough with the bullying. How many children have to be bullied to death before something is done? Whose child has to die before the right person does something about this epidemic? This makes me nauseated. If someone used the Spanish word for black… which is niger, she would flip the hell out and rightly so. Gay is not happy when these darn kids use it…it is a SLUR.

  • greenmanTN

    Yeah, well when I say that Judge Moore is full of shit, what I *really* mean is that her wisdom is like the fertilizer that helps plants thrive in a garden! Uh-huh.

Comments are closed.