May 19, 2009

Is This What It Will Take to Stop Bullying?

Whether it's an individual or an organization, it is so often true that the best way to get their attention is to hit them in the pocketbook. That's the approach Masika Bermudez, the mother of Jaheem Herrera, the 11-year old who recently committed suicide as the result of constant bullying at school, is taking.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, thanks to PageOneQ for the tip

The family of a fifth-grader who committed suicide after his mother said he
was continuously teased at a Stone Mountain school plans to sue DeKalb County Schools.

A family member discovered 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera in his Atlanta-area
home after he hanged himself on April 16, according to authorities.

Gerald Griggs, the family’s attorney, announced the planned lawsuit at a
rally outside a Decatur church Saturday. Griggs said the family is seeking an
unspecified amount to help fund the Jaheem Herrera Foundation, formed to stop
bullying in schools.

“The purpose of the suit is to hold Dekalb County responsible for the
actions that led to Jaheem’s death and to force a change in the school policies
on handling bullying,” Griggs said after the rally. “This case will send a
message that we as a community will no longer tolerate school systems that
tolerate terror in the classrooms.”

A DeKalb County school spokesman did not immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment.

DeKalb County and Dunaire Elementary Principal Carolyn Thompson will also be named in the lawsuit, Griggs said. The county and school district have 30 days to respond to Griggs’ “intent to sue” notice before the lawsuit becomes official.

Jaheem’s mother, Masika Bermudez, has said her son often complained of
being called names. She said she repeatedly visited Dunaire Elementary, but her
son told her the bullying continued. Schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis
has acknowledged Bermudez visited the school, though he said it’s unclear how
many times.

He said county school officials are reviewing anti-bullying policies and
investigating allegations of teasing, including a choking incident involving

State law says students involved in three incidents of bullying can be

See, even where there are laws in place, effort still needs to be put into enforcing them. Maybe a good old fashioned lawsuit will help motivate people and prevent more tragedies like this one.

1 comment:

  1. 30% of ALL youthful gay suicides are committed by young gays. Gays represent 5-6% of the total popular. I think there's a problem here