12 responses

  1. Andrew
    October 17, 2011

    This is an awful story, and I’m very sad for the loved ones, and for the pain this kid was in.

    No small part of the depression of that age, which I recall acutely, is how hard it is for gay teens to find that someone… and that can also be a numbers game at that age… given how teens come to accept their different sexuality over various times, the ones who understand it earliest do so alone. Taunts and whatever else aside (and there’s a difference between baseline teenagers giving each other grief and the horrendous institutionally supported pervasive harassment and teasing we’ve seen in other cases).

    By the way – do we have numbers on lesbian teens committing suicide? Why is it always the boys?

  2. Charles
    October 17, 2011

    “By the way – do we have numbers on lesbian teens committing suicide? Why is it always the boys?” – Andrew

    Boys can be brutal against gay boys. I go on other political blogs and the venom is always worse against the homosexual male, no the lesbian. The tomboy or lesbian usually gets a pass.

  3. Regan DuCasse
    October 17, 2011

    On some levels…testosterone works the same being aggressive in risks and endangering oneself when it comes to suicide.
    Males choose more violent types of death. With firearms, suicide by cop or confrontation most of the time.
    Crashing vehicles, leaping from tall spaces. Males are just more violent, regardless who it’s directed at.

    My heart is so breaking right now…

  4. Lucrece
    October 17, 2011

    These kids are getting more precocious by the day.

    “Life is too hard, I’m tired of this fucking this and this fucking that.” As if they had any actual meaningful glimpse at what life is really like.

    This culture keeps goading kids into fancying themselves adults and making “adult” decisions, and it is killing them. It thrusts adult social culture and aspirations on them in all forms of media. Since when is it alright for a kid to think that he’s ever got the answers?

  5. Andrew
    October 18, 2011

    Lucrece – 25 years ago, a kid I knew ordered the bullets he used to take his own life. We had the same comment then – a boy making very adult decisions. Heart-rending.

    I would be willing to bet that girls have more “middle solutions” — cutting, overdoses, and other approaches that have a lower mortality rate so that they get the help they ultimately need – that’s been the case with the kids of a couple of co-workers over the years. Girls give a go more often, but boys are the ones who, unfortunately, succeed.

  6. Steven
    October 18, 2011

    A few weeks ago someone posted that you were changing the way you reported suicide because of concern about ‘suicide contagion’ or ‘suicide clusters’.

    I think the way you’ve written this article is a great example of responsible reporting of a sensitive topic that still requires far more discussion than it receives.

    Excellent job Jim.

  7. customartist
    October 18, 2011

    Now we shall see what Canada will do about Bullying? _____________

  8. msrowena
    October 18, 2011

    Speaking of contagion: does anyone else find the current discussion of bullying, homophobia, and suicide brings back memories of junior high or middle school (I know, the jr. high tells you how old I am)?

    I guess I’d forgotten the mind-numbing horror of trudging to school each day, living in fear of ridicule and physical assault, feeling sick to my stomach and almost incapable of walking from class to class. On the one hand, I really cry at times that this is still going on to such a great degree. On the other hand, at least there is some acknowledgment of it now and efforts to deal with it to some degree.

    Please understand, this is not to say I’m having some kind of midlife crisis. But I’m just wondering if this hasn’t stirred up a lot of memories for us old timers. I wish I felt there was something more active I could do to help these children out. No one should have to live with the gut-wrenching terror that I, and so many others, had to endure as some sort of awful rite of passage.

    ?
    R

  9. Priya Lynn
    October 18, 2011

    Lucrece said “These kids are getting more precocious by the day.

    “Life is too hard, I’m tired of this fucking this and this fucking that.” As if they had any actual meaningful glimpse at what life is really like.”.

    I’m amazed that you’d make such a comment. Of course these kids know what life is really like – THEY’RE LIVING IT! You can’t take that away from Jamie. I went through a similar time in high school, had the same thoughts. I’m 50 now, I know what life is like now and what it was like then. What I was feeling then was accurate, it was that bad. At that time like Jamie I couldn’t relate to the idea that someday I’d be done with high school and the bullies would be gone and that it would get better. The problem for kids like Jamie is not that they don’t know what life is really like, its that they can’t see beyond the present to a better future. I struggle to think of how this could be made clear to Jamie, and to myself back then but I can’t think of anyway to do it.

  10. Hue-Man
    October 18, 2011

    “Now we shall see what Canada will do about Bullying? _____________”

    Education is a provincial responsibility with local elected school boards involved in setting and implementing policy. Ontario still has a government-funded separate Catholic school system…

    “Spencer Chandra Herbert, New Democrat MLA for the Vancouver-West End riding, said he likes the Roots of Empathy program but was disappointed with [Premier Christy] Clark’s statement because he had expected broader action to address bullying, especially that directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

    The government release about the Burnaby event said Clark would announce a first step toward “a coordinated and comprehensive anti-bullying strategy.” Herbert said he had hoped the premier would order all school districts and independent schools that receive public funding to take firm action against homophobia and transphobia and other types of bullying.

    “A lot more work needs to be done,” he said, noting the controversy in Burnaby in recent weeks over a proposed LGBTQ policy. Although the B.C. Teachers’ Federation has been pressing all districts to enact LGBTQ policies, only 13 of 60 have done so.”

    http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Anti+bullying+program+expanded+schools/4938250/story.html

  11. Andrew
    October 18, 2011

    I echo the comments about living under a cloud of stark terror in middle school. I guess my chief question here is why, in an institution which services as the chief vehicle to creating the next generation of citizens, workers, and leaders — institutions which kids are basically required to attend — we have what amounts to a meat-grinder of vulnerable adolescents staffed by adults, many of whom appear utterly disinterested in stopping bullying or physical violence, even when it occurs right in front of them? And that’s before we get into situation in which teachers either lead or partake in the bullying.

    I’d like, at a minimum to see a change in the culture around how adults perceive their charges, and what i’m sure amounts to a numbing of their sensibilities with respect to social terrorism.

    There’s absolutely no reason kids should be living the Lord of the Flies everyday when adults are standing. right. there.

  12. Charles
    October 18, 2011

    “Speaking of contagion: does anyone else find the current discussion of bullying, homophobia, and suicide brings back memories of junior high or middle school (I know, the jr. high tells you how old I am)?”

    Welcome to the discussion, I am sixty. I did not experience much bullying at school. When I was off at a summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina in 1965 for six weeks one guy had it in for me in our cabin, making my life hell. The others just stood-by…..even the counselor in the cabin. It was not so much of a gay issue. Even though my cabin mate labeled me as queer.

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