Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Again we are losing our children due to bullying and schools' lack of protection.
11-year-old Jaheem Herrera to commit suicide last Thursday.
On Thursday afternoon, after returning home from school, fifth-grader Jaheem quietly went into his room and hanged himself. His 10-year-old sister, Yerralis, also a fifth-grader, discovered Jaheem’s dead body.
“His sister was screaming, ‘Get him down, get him down,’” said Norman Keene, who helped raise Jaheem since the boy was two years old.
When Keene got to the room, he saw Yerralis holding her brother, trying to remove the pressure of the noose her brother had fashioned with a fabric belt.
Jaheem was bullied relentlessly, his family said. Keene said the family knew the boy was a target, but until his death they didn’t understand the scope.
“We’d ask him, ‘Jaheem, what’s wrong with you?’” Keene recalled. “He’d never tell us.”
He didn’t want his sister to tell, either. She witnessed much of the bullying, and many times rose to her brother’s defense, Keene said.
“They called him gay and a snitch,” his stepfather said. “All the time they’d call him this.”
In an interview with WSB-TV, Bermudez also said her son was being bullied at school. She said she had complained to the school.
She said she asked him about the bullying Thursday when he came home from school and he denied it. She sent him to his room to calm down. It was the last time she would see him alive.
Bermudez told WSB she talked to Jaheem’s best friend about the situation last week.
“He said, ‘Yes ma’am. He told me that he’s tired of everybody always messing with him in school. He is tired of telling the teachers and the staff, and they never do anything about the problems. So, the only way out is by killing himself,’” Bermudez told WSB.