News :: National

Fellow Students of Upstate N.Y. Suicide Receive Suspensions

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday Dec 6, 2011
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On Sept. 18 Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, took his own life after enduring harassment from bullies who targeted him for being gay. When Rodemeyer tried to tell adults about his problems nothing happened, reported EDGEin a Sept. 21 article.

The Williamsville Central School District recently finished its investigation into Rodemeyer’s case after Amherst, N.Y. police closed their criminal investigation in late November. The local authorities did not file any chargers, reported the Buffalo News in a Dec. 5 article. (Amherst is a suburb of Buffalo.)

"[The police] shared some information with us, and we followed up," Superintendent Scott Martzloff told the newspaper. "We made the determination to take disciplinary action."

Martzloff did not say how many students were suspended but it’s possible several of Rodemeyer’s peers were punished based on Amherst police findings, the newspaper reported.

The superintendent also added that the students only "face a minimum of suspensions," meaning they could receive a short-term suspension of only five days. The maximum punishment they could receive, however, is a long-term suspensions where they would have to attend a hearing. None of the students will face expulsion.

The Williamsville Central School District has come under criticism because Rodemeyer was just a freshman when he took his life. School and legal officials say that there were other issues that played into Rodemyer’s suicide than just the harassment he experienced during high school.

Rodemeyer blogged about his life in and outside of school during the weeks before his death. He even participated in the "It Gets Better" project by making a YouTube video offering advice and words of encouragement to other LGBT youth who experiencing the same problems.

Police Chief John C. Askey said that the investigation his department conducted discovered five incidents of alleged bullying that involved Rodemeyer. In one incident a female classmate said, "Faggot, why don’t you just kill yourself?" to Rodemeyer.

In a blog post, Rodemyer said that a group of his peers spit on a plate of brownies and then gave them to Rodemyer but Aksey says his department did not find any other evidence of the incident.

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