A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Gay Teen, Bullied, Suicide — Again

Kid Being Bullied

By Meghan Lalonde

Just days have past since President Obama made history by becoming the first president to announce his support for “our gay brothers and sisters” in his second inaugural speech, but it’s clear there’s still a long way to go. It’s been over two years since names like Tyler Clementi and Jamey Rodemeyer made headlines, gay teenagers who committed suicide. Now there’s another name to add to the list: Jadin Bell.

Jadin was a 15-year-old high-school sophomore from La Grande, Oregon, and like many other gay teens, he was bullied both online and in school. Friends remembered him as “an amazing young man” who loved cheerleading and volunteering at a home for senior citizens. Last March, we reported the hopeful news that a group of gay students in Minnesota had settled a lawsuit over their school’s policy that had prohibited teachers from providing help to students affected by bullying. The news of Jadin committing suicide last week reminds us just how painful bullying can be — and sadly, still is.

My father always told me, “Suicide is such a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” I believe that’s what the bullying problem is: temporary. But for now it exists. There’s more work to be done beyond legally recognizing gay marriage (thank you, Rhode Island). We have to make it better for everyone.

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