Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

“Bullycide” Takes Life of Hoosier Teen

Fishers, Indiana – Hundreds of mourners gathered on Monday to remember a 14-year-old Hamilton Southeastern High School freshman whom his parents and friends say took his life in response to incessant bullying. WISH TV News 8 reports that Corey and Natalie Bell, the parents of Jamarcus “Bucko” Bell, who took his own life last Wednesday, want to send a strong message that bullying kills.  The Bells scheduled an emergency conference with the dean of students at Hamilton Southeastern before the suicide of their son because they were alarmed at the extent of the bullying Jamarcus admitted he was enduring at school.  The conference, put off for days, never happened, according to Jamarcus’s parents, who are calling for a full investigation into the bullying situation at HSE.  WTHR News 13 broadcast that the Superintendent of Schools is now speaking out to parents and the press, trying to impress upon the public that the school district “takes bullying very seriously.”  Many students, friends, and alumni of Hamilton Southeastern High, however, aren’t buying what the Superintendent says, since it is too little, too late.  Present and former students of HSE contend that they were bullied in the halls, gym, classrooms, and grounds of the school, and that while school officials and teachers knew about the problems with bullying, they did nothing to prevent it or to protect the targets of the harassment.  In Jamaracus’s case, his parents say that he was bullied from the time the family moved into the school district three years ago.  Corey Bell says that his son was singled out for torment first at Fishers Junior High School, and then this year at HSE.  The most graphic story the Bells are telling is how Jamarcus was bullied in welding class one day last week, when student antagonists threw fragments of steel at the back of Jamarcus’s head.  Student witnesses have corroborated the welding class account, according to Indystar.com.  Jamarcus is remembered as a good student and good friend by his peers.  He was 5′ 8″ tall, and an aspiring baseball player.  His father told the Indianapolis Star that he seldom talked about his troubles: “He shared bits and pieces, but he was more or less trying to hold it in,” Corey Moore said. “He wasn’t confrontational. He wasn’t aggressive. He was good at holding stuff in. We couldn’t tell how bad it was, but he didn’t seclude himself.” Bell is the second high-profile “bullycide” case in Indiana since September.  Last month, the suicide of gay teen Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Indiana, touched off national attention to the issue of anti-LGBTQ bullying in schools.  At the packed memorial service in the Eastern Star Church of Fishers, Jamaracus was remembered with tears and laughter.  He was also remembered by mourners who came from near and far as yet another victim of “bullycide.”  While news stories have not mentioned sexual innuendo or anti-gay slurs as part of the repertoire of Jamarcus’s harassers, such attacks on the masculinity of young teen men is the rule, rather than the exception in cases of school suicide.  Often a complex series of oppressions play a part in the desperate decision of a youth to take his own life–not just anti-gay epithets, but also racial, ethnic, and class factors are commonly found to torment young people as they face daily harassment in a school culture that tolerates bullies but not youth of difference.  At the end of the Monday memorial for Jamarcus, hundreds of multicolored balloons were released in the night air, carrying their memories of the gentle athlete who saw no other way out of his desperate situation in school.

October 26, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Bullying in schools, Condolences, funerals, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Indiana, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Racism, Remembrances, Slurs and epithets | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Bullycide” Takes Life of Hoosier Teen

   

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