WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) - The parents of Jamey Rodemeyer believe years of bullying finally pushed their son too far. The freshman at Williamsville North High School committed suicide on Sunday. He was just 14-years-old.
Tracy Rodemeyer said, "We were out camping over the weekend, having a grand ol' time."
But 12 hours after coming home Saturday night, Jamey was found dead. He had taken his own life.
"We wish we would've seen any sign, but in seventh grade, it would've been more expected. He was so fragile back then," recalled Tracy, Jamey's mother.
For years, Jamey has struggled with his own sexuality.
"So he hung around with the girls a lot, so then the teasing started happening, like, 'Oh, you're such a girl' or 'You're gay' or whatever. And that bothered him for many years," said Tracy.
Friends say he seemed to be handling it better this year as he became a freshman at Williamsville North High School. In fact, in May he posted a YouTube video encouraging other victims of bullies to stay strong:
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In the video, Jamey says, "Hi, this is Jamey from Buffalo, NY and I'm here to tell you it does get better." Inspired by Lady Gaga and her message "Born This Way," he gave his testimonial of being bullied at Heim Middle School.
"And they'd taunt me in the hallways and I felt like I could never escape it, and I made a Formspring, which I shouldn't have done, and people would just constantly send me hate, telling me, 'Gay people go to hell.' But I can tell you, it does get better," said Jamey.
In July, Jamey lost his great grandmother, and his friend Alix Rice, who was struck by car. Hours before Jamey took his life, he wrote that he wanted to see them both, but he only wrote it online, saying, "I just wanna see my great grandma right now. And Alix."
His final message said, "Thank you Lady Gaga for everything you have done for me. Paws up forever."
Jamey's dad, Tim Rodemeyer, said, "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. And I would say to all the other kids, if you see bullying happening, you need to rally for your friends and gang up on the bullies and tell them they're wrong, to stop it."
"The bullying has to stop. And if I can keep that message alive, I will do that for my son," added Tracy.
The Williamsville School District had no comment, but sent home a letter to parents announcing Jamey's death and information about grief counseling.
Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York wants teens to know they are not alone. Support is out there.
This agency is located on Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo and provides a safe place and a strong support system for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth.
Executive director Marvin Henchbarger said, "They can help themselves by finding people in their schools, in their close friends, sometimes even in their churches that will accept them exactly as they are, for who they are, without any judgment. And if we can help hook those young people up with those folks, we will do that. But yeah, it can get better. But it gets better if they find support. And it's there."
You can contact Gay and Lesbian Youth Services by calling 855-0221 or through their website. Other support numbers for youth include the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 and the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-784-8433.
There are also national places to turn to for help. They are all free and confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Trevor Project
24/7 Suicide Hotline for GLBTQI Youth
USA National Suicide Prevention Hotline
24/7, Free & Confidential
How to Get Help from Bullies?
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