WTF: Jaheem Herrera’s Suicide NOT Linked to Anti-Gay Bullying


“Shocked and strongly disheartened” is how the family of Jaheem Herrera feels after an investigation into the 11-year-old boy’s suicide concluded anti-gay bullying was not part of the reason he killed himself last month.

You can imagine how much of a shock that is to Jahmee’s mother Masika Bermudez, who had to help her daughter pull Jaheem down from where he was hanging in their Georgia home.

So what did cause the suicide? Retired Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, who reviewed the investigation, says Jaheem was emotionally ruined by his uncle being recently shot to death and his grandmother’s recent passing. (The school has already denied any responsibility.)

This, despite all of the harassment other students inflicted on Jaheem, which got so bad his mother had to report it to administrators. And that Jaheem was taunted in school the same day he took his own life.

Bermudez, who is suing the school district, doesn’t see eye to eye.

In a statement, the family said: “We strongly and respectfully disagree with the results of the investigation. Further, we know that when all the facts come out, those facts will show that bullying occurs at Dunaire Elementary School. That intense bullying was the cause of the wrongful death of Jaheem Herrera.” Added Masika: “Nobody knows the pain that I am feeling … I don’t care what everybody at the system says, I’m not going to give up. Jaheem’s pain was caused by bullying at Dunaire, period. I am Jaheem Luis Herrera’s voice. I am gonna fight until the end for my son.”

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  • paulied

    Is Virginia Foxx in charge of this investigation? This is disgraceful! They are clearly trying to cover the school’s ass in this lawsuit.

  • Timothy K

    I live in Georgia. I am not surprised. The state as a whole chooses not to address anything with the word gay in it. The school system also knows that the Georgia court system will be biased in favor of the school system. I am glad that his mother will continue with her law suit in Georgia despite the fact that the court system will not rule favorably. This will allow her to push her case to the Georgia Supreme Court and eventually to the US Supreme Court.

  • Chris

    Just to be clear,the reason this family is suing the school ISN’T based on bullying or the fact the school didn’t do anything to stop the bullying, Its based on the fact that the school actually “encouraged” Jaheem to express himself the way “he” wanted to. The family feels that the school should have been more strict in “curbing” his flamboyant behavior rather than allowing it to continue as they did. Here in the metro Atlanta area many feel, right or wrong, that this family is simply looking for a pay day. While I feel all schools should have a policy against bullying, I also feel this school should be commended for alloying Jaheem to be himself and not conform to some societal view on what is the norm.

  • schlukitz

    What other decision could we have expected from a homophobic, anti-gay, ractist part of the country like Georgia…where on average, between 1882 and 1930, one black person was lynched in Georgia every 40 days. And, if they had their druthers, they would probably like to do the same thing to gays.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)


    Where are your sources???

    So the school FORCES him to be ‘himself’ i.e flamboyant BUT are so disrespectful to not see how he was being BULLIED because of this??

    Right or Wrong with your information, the school still has major issues.

    If you do not see what is wrong with encouraging a boy to be more flamboyant when he is being mercifully bullied…then you’re…erm…an oddball.

    Furthermore, IF he was being bullied at HOME and NOT at school, so we go with the issue that his relatives died and the school STILL did not do anything, place any red flags OR write recorded voice/written messages to the Mum expressing worry…

    Then again the school is in the WRONG.

    I work as a mentor in a school and god I’m sure a kid is having issues at home, so I said something to the school…and guess what? They KNEW and have flagged it.

    Thats what SCHOOLS do. (Responsible ones)

  • More Info from Chris, Please!

    @ Chris:

    Can you send any links to local stories? I’d be very interested in finding more info on this. Queerty: follow up on this, please.

    John: it seems like the school is damned no matter what it does. If it tells a kid to not express himself, then the school’s homophobic. If it encourages him, then it’s also at fault?

    I think the issue is in not tolerating bullying.

    Finally, if the boy’s uncle and grandmother recently died, that has to factor into the suicide as well. That’s not to say it’s 100 percent the reason for his death, but it can’t be overlooked. And if we as a community can’t acknowledge these nuances and instead insist on turning him into a gay martyr, then there’s something wrong with us. Wake up, people.

  • schlukitz

    So many skeletons….

    so few closets.

  • Tony

    Sad, sad story. One of the reasons we in the LGBT Community needs to address the minority members of our community. They are very vulnerable and need our support desperately.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    @More Info from Chris, Please!:

    “John: it seems like the school is damned no matter what it does. If it tells a kid to not express himself, then the school’s homophobic. If it encourages him, then it’s also at fault?”

    Dude, I just want to see were they waved the red frigging flags….Come on?!?

    Raise a flag. If a kis still dies you can cover your precious back…so I’m waiting for “chris’s” facts…

  • Sam

    @Chris: Chris – I live in Atlanta and have been keeping up with this case. I did not read anything like you mentioned. I believe you have this case confused with the one of Larry King in California. That’s exactly what is involved in the King case.

  • hephaestion

    @schlukitz: They DID do the same to gays. But there was no one to spread the word about it. Such things were never spoken of.

  • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

    @Chris: Chris you have this case mixed up with the Lawrence King murder. That happened in Calif. Lawrence Kings parents are suing for a totally different reason and I hope the lose their case. If they loved their son so much then why did they make his home conditions so bad he moved into a shelter for runaway kids. He was shot twice in the head.

    This case the poor kid killed himself. His family has a strong case.

  • Chris

    @More Info from Chris, Please!: I put in a call to PfLAG Atlanta to try to get more info on the story, i also emailed the Atlanta Journal and Constitution to find out more details there as well. Since I live in the metro Atlanta area, they have been covering this extensively since the suicide, on local stations. WXIA-TV, WSB-TV, WTBS-TV & WATL, and from the TV news reports right when this story broke, the family was quoted as saying they “did not” want their son the be the “picture boy” for Gay Rights. And for these “gay groups” to leave them alone. I will post monday with more details when PFLAG-Atlanta calls be back. Another thing, this story on queerty makes it seem the school was located in a behind the times backward Georgia School in the sticks, when in fact it is located in the Metro Atlanta School district where PFLAG works with many schools in the Metro Atlanta area. I am checking into the details on this, something queerty ‘should have done’ before reporting without getting their facts straight.

  • Chris

    @Sam: Could be, and I’m trying to verify with sources here.

  • schlukitz


    Thanks for the illumination. I had not thought about that.

  • BombasticMo

    Wow, nice to see such elucidating comments.

    I’d like to know more, bullying is definitely an issue here, but there’s a lot going on.

    I do think it’s slightly strange that the gay rights movement has locked onto this case, as I haven’t seen any real evidence that this kid was gay. That being said, that’s currently probably the number one issue kids are bullied about, perceived orientation, regardless of actual.

    And @6), I agree, this is a complex issue and we can’t boil it down to one simple topic. But we also need to put some processes in place to protect children. You know, like the “Right” would have us do. But in this case, do so in a way that doesn’t thoroughly harm them.

  • Enrik

    I wonder what information this judge reviewed to come up with this conclusion about the mental state of a young boy. Did she have taped interviews? The notes of the pysch paid by the school? Comments from the family? From a distance it looks like the child killed himself over bullying, but who can really know or, on the flip side, conclude that it was his family deaths without something tangible to point to? It sounds like this judge is trying to be a psychologist. And at first they were saying this issue would be decided by the district attorney…

    This news clip doesn’t look like the family is suing the school for encouraging Jaheem to be gay:

  • Virilene

    Sorry, y’all, but it looks like ol Massa is STILL crackin’ the whip down in Georgia. Hired him a high-yellow house negress ta do him some white-washin’.

    LGBT persons are the Black man’s shame–not because of US, but because of the way the larger African-American commmunity has (and continues to) turn its back on us. And not JUST turn its back on us–but actively deny our existence, deny our contributions to the civil rights movement, deny our contributions to society, deny our rights. And not JUST deny our rights, but actively brutalize LGBT memebers in the minority community…tolerating, condoning, and in some quarters ever encouraging the beatings, rape and murder of LGBT members in and outside the community.

    And the highest-yellow Negro of them all presiding over it. It’s a god-damned disgrace.

  • Lex

    @Virilene: You’re a moron.

  • J

    You’re a moron. [2]
    Also, wasn’t this posted a few days back? What’s it back near the top?

  • Virilene

    @Lex: You ought to be able to refute the arguments of a moron pretty easily. Since you didn’t, it’s pretty obvious you can’t.

    I know it’s a problem in the minority community (for a lot of complex reasons), and you know it too. You may not like to have to acknowledge it, may not like having that ugly reality pointed out to you. But the reality is there. You can deal with it, or deny it while the rest of us deal with it. We don’t have to have your buy-in.

    Meanwhile, Ol’ Yeller laid a couple of wreaths today, and said that the young men and women in the United States’ military forces were the best our nation has to offer. He didn’t say whether that applied to the gay and lesbian ones he’s about to discharge. Based on his actions you have to supposed he doesn’t believe that they are.

    I wonder if he thinks Memorial Day is supposed to honor the gay and lesbian soldiers who gave life and limb in service to their country. No tangible indication yet that he does.

  • Hayley

    This is disgusting, if the child was a victim of homophobic bullying then of course it would have affected him and been part of the problem.Schools should teach children that love is love regardless of gender & that biggotry is wrong, maybe if they did stories like this would cease to exist.

  • Lex

    @Virilene: You’re a moron.

  • alan brickman

    girls do alot of gay bullying too!

  • Masika Bermudez

    You cold hearted S.O.B

Comments are closed.