Lady Gaga Vows To Make Bullying Illegal
After Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old boy and maker of a viral "It's Gets Better" video, took his own life Sunday after years of bullying, many mourned his death by rallying to his cause, leaving online comments like "Don't worry, we'll fight for you. R.I.P." on his YouTube video.
Among those springing to action is none other than his role model and idol Lady Gaga.
"Jamey Rodemeyer, 14 yrs old, took his life because of bullying," she tweeted on Wednesday. "Bullying must become be illegal. It is a hate crime."
Minutes later, she continued her call to action.
"I am meeting with our President," she tweeted. "I will not stop fighting. This must end. Our generation has the power to end it. Trend it #MakeALawForJamey"
Since then, hundreds have poured out their support through Twitter.
President Barack Obama, who has made his own "It Gets Better" video, is attending this year's second annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit this week in Washington D.C. to discuss state and local commitments to preventing bullying. It is unclear if this is where Gaga intends to speak with him.
School bullying, especially gay bullying, has increasingly become a hot-button issue in the media after multiple tragedies such as Rodemeyer have pushed it into the spotlight. The government has also launched programs and campaigns to increase awareness and garner support across the country to stop bullying.
Despite suggestions from school counselors to refrain from posting on social media websites, Rodemeyer continued, enduring cruel comments that eventually led to his death, the International Business Times reported.
One comment was especially cold:
"I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it : ) It would make everyone WAY more happier!"
Jamey's father, Tim Rodemeyer, told WIVB his message for other kids in school:
"To the kids who are bullying they have to realize that words are very powerful and what you think is just fun and games isn't to some people, and you are destroying a lot of lives."
Other parents have expressed similar thoughts in the past. Lisa Cagno told CBS correspondant Tracy Smith that she was afraid every time she dropped her son Johnny off at school.
"I felt like every day, I was sending him off to war," Lisa Cagno told Smith.
Gaga's quest is not the first time someone has sought to make bullying illegal.
This month, the California State Senate approved Seth's Law (AB 9), which is designed to crack down on the bullying of LGBT students in state schools. The law is in honor of 13-year-old Seth Walsh, a gay junior high student who ended his own life last year after facing constant harassment for his sexuality.
In Anoka-Hennepin schools, Minnesota's largest school district, nine teens have committed suicide over the last two years -- several of whom were gay and reportedly acted as a result of being bullied. The situation in Anoka-Hennepin Schools is so bad that Minnesota public health officials have deemed the area a "suicide contagion," and federal officials have launched an investigation in the area.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a new state law this month which redesigned a previous anti-bullying law from 2002 that wasn't effective in implementing policies in schools. The legislations, known as the "Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights" is said to be the "toughest piece of anti-bullying legislation" in the U.S.
Eliza S. Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network has also presented steps she believes will help the 80 percent of LGBT youths in New York who report verbal harassment, Buffalo News reported.
To prevent such bullying, Byard said schools should:
• Establish a policy that specifically bars harassment based on sexual orientation.
• Encourage the establishment of Gay-Straight Alliances at schools.
• Make sure the curriculum depicts gay people positively.
• Urge adults to be supportive of GLBT students.
The weekend of his suicide, Rodemeyer posted lyrics from Lady Gaga's "The Queen" on his Facebook page, the International Business Times wrote.
"Don't forget me when I come crying to heaven's door."
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or visit stopbullying.gov.