Bullying | Education | News | Tennessee

Tennessee Teen Takes His Own Life After Years of Anti-Gay Bullying That Students Say School Ignored: VIDEO

A Tennessee student has taken his own life following four years of bullying that classmates say the school didn't do enough about, WSMV reports:

RogersFriends say that kids bullied Jacob Rogers at Cheatham County Central High School for the past four years, but in the past few months it had become so bad he dropped out of school. And Wednesday, he ended his life.

"He started coming home his senior year saying 'I don't want to go back. Everyone is so mean. They call me a f****, they call me gay, a queer,'" friend Kaelynn Mooningham said.

Kaelynn said her friend Jacob felt ignored.

"Jacob told me no one was helping him. He constantly was going to guidance," she said.

But Cheatham County Schools Director Dr. Tim Webb said the school was only aware of one incident of bullying.

"She actually intervened and called the students in accused of bullying or picking. She called them in, talked to them and gave them warnings. Subsequently after that, she ran into the student and asked him if things were better and he indicated that things were better," Webb said.

Watch WSMV's report (video may take a few seconds to load), AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE:

WMSV mentioned that friends of Jacob's family said that the family is unlikely to be able to afford a funeral, and mentioned that a tattoo parlor was taking donations.

Because it's a bit iffy to send money to a random tattoo parlor, Towleroad, with Slog and Joe.My.God, have initiated a fund for Jacob's funeral - we hope to raise $5,000. Any additional donations will be split between GLSEN, Trevor Project, the ACLU, and the It Gets Better Project.

Use the donate button below if you are interested in helping out. Thanks.

UPDATE II:

Thanks to your generosity we have met and surpassed our goal of $5,000 for Jacob's funeral in just about two hours. I'm removing the donation link at this time. Thanks to Slog and Joe.My.God readers  as well. I'll have a more specific update later.

 

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Comments

  1. When are parents going to wake up to the fact that the United States of America, a war mongering nation, is so toxic and mean spirited that it is virtually incapable of providing a a safe environment for learning and keep their children at home?

    I do not understand how a responsible parent, one who knows their child is being relentlessly bullied, does not pull their child out of school.

    It gets better? With more of these beautiful children ending their lives it's not getting better fast enough.

    I'm not saying it is right, of course not, but I can understand why a bullied teen would go back to his school with a gun and take his bullies out of the equation. After the debacle concerning Jamey Rodemeyer, where his murderers only got suspended, one can see that justice for gay teens, or anyone perceived to be gay, is an elusive thing in this country.

    Posted by: RiccoRicco | Dec 8, 2011 9:54:11 AM


  2. How many more children have to die?

    Posted by: Manny | Dec 8, 2011 10:13:35 AM


  3. So sad. We need more attention to the subject of bullying in this society - in schools, homes, on the job. We hear about the suicide cases but not about the many ways in which non-suicidal people are harmed also. If conservatives would take up the issue of bullying they wouldn't have to single out LGBT youth for protection - all people would be covered. But this would have an effect. If bullying is wrong for any reason then its also wrong to bully because of one's sexual orientation. Only good could come from a bipartisan approach to dealing with this problem.

    Posted by: Mary | Dec 8, 2011 10:14:48 AM


  4. Is there anywhere that folks could donate to give this man a proper funeral? Ugh, so horrific.

    Posted by: Russ | Dec 8, 2011 10:20:58 AM


  5. You'll note that the more young people that take their own lives, the louder the Right shouts against laws against bullying.

    They want as many people as possible to kill themselves.

    Posted by: Scott | Dec 8, 2011 10:24:52 AM


  6. It's not getting better in these homophobic states and suburban towns. In fact, it's getting worse as a backlash against the progress made in other areas. Another tragedy here, and the same 'ol story continues to repeat itself. These schools don't know about/ignores/doesn't know how to handle these incidents. We cannot look at the schools to handle these cases anymore; they're not capable. These LGBTQ teens need a voice, to be heard, to be empowered.

    The gay/straight supporting people in these communities really need to step up to the plate right now. These kids need to have someone to talk to and someone who really UNDERSTANDS what they're going through. They need a place where they feel they can just let loose and be themselves, without pressure. There needs to be more of a sense of community for these LGBTQ teens, too many are falling through the cracks. It's easy to blame the parents but most of the time, they simply have no idea what to do and their sons/daughters are simply not comfortable enough to talk to them about the abuse they are taking.

    May Jacob RIP. And I can only hope that yet another tragic suicide wakes people up, finally, to do their part to make a change. LGBTQ people in more fortunate situations need to do our part to make a change in these bigoted areas and speak out for the youth in our community.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 8, 2011 10:30:26 AM


  7. I'm with Russ. We need to help Jacob's family with funeral costs. The article lists the following information, but it's not very useful for non-local folks:

    Donations for a funeral are being accepted at Sandman's Ink Shop, a local tattoo shop in Ashland City.

    1102 N. Main Street, Ashland City, TN 37015

    Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.

    (615) 792-0506

    Posted by: RyanInSacto | Dec 8, 2011 10:31:48 AM


  8. Can't say enough about how upsetting this situation is. Wondering though about the next bullied youngster. . . in the Romantic Teen Angst world so many young people live in, is all the internet attention encouraging kids to make a dramatic move to embrace some fantasy of fame and attention?

    Posted by: Christopher | Dec 8, 2011 11:06:44 AM


  9. Still another case of a school claiming not to know that vicious bullying was going on. It's becoming more and more clear that school administrators, as a group, are either grossly incompetent, criminally stupid or consciously evil. Yes, there are exceptions, but as a class they are petty bureaucrats more interested in covering their own asses than in doing right by their students.

    Posted by: jomicur | Dec 8, 2011 11:36:50 AM


  10. How many homophobes need to be put to death to save these kids' lives?

    Posted by: Attmay | Dec 8, 2011 1:47:45 PM


  11. I wonder if Mrs Bachmann would like to comment on this?

    Posted by: lk | Dec 8, 2011 2:06:19 PM


  12. If these schools cannot be made safe, it is time we pull these kids out and educate them safely. They don't all have the emotional armor to survive these kind of emotional and physical assaults. And I think we as tax-paying adults have to start protesting.

    Posted by: Ronny | Dec 8, 2011 2:12:08 PM


  13. I am so glad our Mother Monster is doing something to help this situation. Please help get Marry The Night in the top ten--find out how at
    helpmothermonster
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    Posted by: Stephanie | Dec 8, 2011 10:06:00 PM


  14. May he rest in peace ...

    Posted by: JCT | Dec 9, 2011 4:58:01 AM


  15. How can this continue? But not surprising when the republican candidates are all on a gay which hunt perpetuating hatred. It's unacceptable (and rightly so) to make any kind of racial comments, but anything slamming gay people is ok. What is wrong here? The bullying is not going to stop until the PARENTS change their attitude. Why aren't the parents of the bullies being held accountable? Oh, yeah... the religious right and republican candidates say it's ok to go gay bashing.

    Posted by: Mark E | Dec 9, 2011 7:45:00 AM


  16. December 14 6:00 PM.Please join the Middle TN chapter of GLSEN, the Tennessee Equality Project and OutCentral as we host a candlelight vigil to honor the life of Jacob Rogers, an Ashland City teen who committed suicide as a result of bullying. Stand with us as we demonstrate our community's commitment to tolerance and acceptance. If you cannot attend light a candle Wed. night and remember Jacob Rogers.

    Posted by: Harold Qualls | Dec 9, 2011 8:18:52 AM


  17. To my fellow LGBT brothers and sisters and all peace-loving Americans,

    For decades now, the LGBT community at large has blindly followed the Democratic Party. Despite years of lip service, pro-war policies, and a complete disregard for the Constitution, never once have we collectively voiced opposition to the violent and unjust positions of the left.

    In a world where violence against LGBT individuals has become common place, and bullying is a national epidemic, we still unquestionably give our allegiance to a party that believes in aggression by force, limited individual rights, assassination, and the destruction of liberty. Obama, now in office long enough to answer for his own record, voted for and expanded the wars, and unilaterally launched new military conflicts in once-upon-a-time sovereign nations. His administration continues to detain, indefinitely, Bradley Manning, a gay American citizen who has never been found guilty of a crime. Obama unapologetically ordered the assassination of American citizens, including a child, despite the fact they were never given a trial. And, Obama extended the Patriot Act. A bill so hideously detrimental to liberty that it should shock the conscience of every freedom loving American. Yet, we still voice no real objection.

    We have become a society that promotes, encourages, and delivers violence around the world. Our foreign policy is one of a military empire that believes it is "our way, or the highway", and we have little to no concern for anyone who stands in our way. Countless innocent civilians, women and children included, have died in the Middle East and around the world by our bombs, our guns, and even by the physical hands of our most violent soldiers. We have raped, pillaged, and stolen, but still, we, as a community, do not object.

    Obama, the president, who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, has ignored his legal obligations and duties. He has gone back on his campaign promises and has proven to be just as pro-war as President Bush. At least when Bush did it, we cried foul! But with our end-all-be-all Obama, we just turn our heads and look the other way. Despite the fact that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are the greatest protector against violence and hate towards us as a minority, we thoughtlessly support a president who disregards them as meaningless. His actions have proven he is an aggressor, a bully, and still, we do not object.

    The children in this country, for a decade now, have grown up in a society where war and violence is the norm. Stories of death and gruesome injury are so common place, that even we adults have grown desensitized to them. What did we think was going to happen to our children? We, as a nation, are the biggest aggressor in the global school yard. We spend trillions more than any other nation on our military dominance, and we scoff at the idea of reducing that budget. We invent the most stealth, deadly, and effective weaponry humanity has ever seen, and we are carelessly quick to use them. America has become a war-based society, undeniably.

    Yet, despite all of this, do you hear anyone from the LGBT community connecting our obsession with war and violence to the rise in bullying? No. Do you hear even one of our "leaders" voicing concerns that our children have grown up in an environment where violence, at the hands of our government and military, is supported and even revered? No. We, in the LGBT community, are okay with war and violence (unless of course it is aimed at us). We do not object. We just blindly follow.

    If we are serious about ending bullying and the violence directed at gay youth, then we must take a pro-peace, anti-war position. It is the only logical conclusion. To say we stand against bullying and violence toward children in school, while at the same time promoting violence and war in other countries, is a morally bankrupt position. Yet, we voice no objection to the pro-war president we now have, and his numerous military campaigns.

    Even as a kid, I understood what it was to be a hypocrite, and we are hypocrites. More than that, why do we expect children to behave differently than us? We are violent, and the bullies are simply following our example.

    If we want to get serious about reducing bullying from the deadly level it has become, something has got to give. Instead of walking around like brainless sheep, singing along with "Born This Way" and casually promising "It Gets Better", why don't we start talking and singing about peace? Why do we not say it gets better when we stop dropping bombs and killing people? Put simply, we are full of it, and our allegiance to the left is a testament to that. The Democratic Party is a violent party. And yes, so is the Republican Party. They both support war, death to others, and the destruction of sovereignty, on both the individual and national level. Similar to bullies in school, both parties completely disregard the rights of individuals, in our country and abroad, to a peaceful, free life. Sadly, through our unquestioned support of Obama and the Democrats, we have become bullies. Bullies supporting bullies.

    Why is it more acceptable for our government to bully than the mean kids in school? They both should be abhorred.

    If we really want to end bullying and violence against LGBT individuals, a policy of peace is the first step. Raising our children in a society where violence is rejected and peaceful friendships are the go-to foreign policy position will result in entirely new behaviors from them. Violence breeds violence, and hate breeds hate. For far too long now, our children have grown up seeing violence and hate distributed from our own hands. What did we expect to happen? Bullies are the logical result of our violent, war-based society.

    Obama, the Democrat leaders, and the Republican establishment are not for peace. They are for violence. Lest you be confused, violence is the same as bullying. Bullying is violence, and violence is bullying. Peace, however, is the antithesis of bullying. Peace is the rejection of violence, and therefore the rejection of bullying.

    In short, Obama, a violent president, should be rejected by our community. Sure, he has done away with Don't Ask, Don't Tell, allowing gays to now serve openly in our killing-machine-military, but that make us even more hypocritical! Now, gay and lesbian military members have no choice but to promote our President's lust for violence and his bully policies around the world. LGBT soldiers are now destroying the lives of innocent people, but we care about bullying? Yeah, sure. Instead of defending this country and our borders, gay and lesbian service members sacrifice their bodies and lives in domestically and internationally illegal wars, and commit atrocious crimes on innocent civilians, both intentionally and not. That is the nature of war, especially unjustified ones. Someone has got to start talking about changing the status quo foreign policy position of our community. We are grossly guilty of doublespeak by supporting a president whose criminal war policies stand at odds with the peaceful hopes we have for our children.

    So, you may ask, if not our Supreme Obama, than who? For me, that's a simple one. I look for the candidate, who above all, will bring peace (not Obama). I look for the candidate who has a long history of standing against war and in favor of individual rights (not Obama). I look for the candidate who believes in liberty and will uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (not Obama). I look for the candidate who believes that war and violence should be rejected and replaced with friendship, communication, and trade (something every bully could learn from; and also, not Obama). And, lastly, I look for the candidate whose policies are not based on political positioning, but instead on principles and a philosophy (definitely not Obama).

    Brace yourself... it's Ron Paul.

    Ron Paul may have positions some of us do not like (he supports the Defense Of Marriage Act because it leaves the power of choosing marriage equality to each state, which is in line with his refreshingly limited-federal-government position and the Constitution; and he is pro-life, based on the premise that life and liberty should be protected from the moment of conception through the end of life, which is why he is also against the death penalty), but he is the only candidate who will bring peace. He wants to end our military occupation of the world and has been starkly opposed to the violence we spread through our conquests. Yes, he is a Republican, but Republicans and Democrats are, in practice, the same exact thing. They, as parties, are both pro-war, big government, for limited rights, and promoters of violence. Ron Paul, however, stands out as the individual who rejects the status quo of both parties.

    He is a man with a philosophy and principles that align directly with our community: peace, acceptance, and the rights of every individual to choose what is best for their life, liberty, and prosperity. Yes, he personally defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, but so does Obama. Ron Paul, on the other hand, says the government should get out of marriage, and if men want to marry men, that should be up to them. Obama doesn't even go that far. As of October 2011, he is "still working on it." "It" being his position on gay marriage. How long does it take, sir? Since Ron Paul is a man of principle with a thought out and well-defined philosophy, he's not "still working" on his positions. He approaches every issue, socially/legally/
    internationally, from a liberty perspective. Whatever protects the liberty of the individual is his position, and having the government controlling marriage is the opposite of liberty.

    I can not choose to marry a man simply because the government prevents me from doing that. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Why are we, as private individuals and corporations, spending billions fighting to get the government to change its policy on marriage (money that could be spent on HIV cures and treatments, care for abandoned and homeless LGBT youth rejected by their families, and more), when we could vote for Ron Paul and get the government out of marriage? That would cost us zero. Billions on a legal and political battle that will go on for years, or zero just by limiting the government and returning marriage to a personal decision. Seems like a no-brainer.

    As a registered Republican (which I admit is only so I can vote for Ron Paul, otherwise I would be Independent), I have been called self-hating, a psycho, a crazy person who doesn't live in the real world, and a long list of nasty adjectives I am pretty sure I'm not supposed to publish. Hateful, hateful things. The irony alone kills me, as there is nothing more grotesque than crying out for the hate against LGBT to stop, all the while spewing hate at fellow LGBT who don't fit inside the tiny box in which we all seem to reside. Even more, the things said about Ron Paul are much worse.

    What if instead of rejecting someone out-right based on their party affiliation, which is embarrassingly something our community generally does with pride, we started looking at candidates on an individual level? And, while we can look past Obama's policies that we don't agree with (he is not for marriage equality, which is something many in our community do not seem to get), why can we not do the same with Ron Paul when it comes to his positions? Just because of his party affiliation? Strange. We want people to respect us on an individual level, so I think we should do the same for Ron Paul. As an individual, he is by far the person with the honesty and integrity we should desire in our president. Something no one can effectively argue for Obama.

    Obama is for violence and war, and violence and war is the reason we have violence directed at us. They are also the reason hatred and bullying is thrown at our children because the bullies are simply following the example we have given them. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is for peace and friendship. Just imagine the example that would set for our children!

    In a world where violence has become the norm, peace and friendship would be real "change", and one I think we, as a community, should start wholeheartedly supporting. Supporting Obama is supporting violence, and supporting violence is supporting bullying. No way around it. We, as a group of individuals, have become all to aware of the horrible consequences of violence, and supporting a violent president should no longer be acceptable to us.

    In 2012, I, as a proud, self-loving gay man, urge you to vote for peace and the ending of violence toward us, our children, and people around the world. Vote for real change. Vote for peace. Vote for Ron Paul.


    Sincerely,

    Brian Watkins
    brianwantspeace@gmail.com

    Posted by: brianinla | Dec 9, 2011 10:30:36 AM


  18. "... bullying or picking or tormenting or whatever..." - Tim Webb

    Or whatever, Tim? Or whatever? That right there shows his attitude towards bullying.

    Posted by: James | Dec 9, 2011 6:00:43 PM


  19. I want to see evangelical christian teens bullied until they commit suicide.

    Posted by: Clint | Dec 10, 2011 3:27:06 AM


  20. Bullying like what just happened is very sad. Losing a teen's life due to bullying without even doing anything should serve as a lesson for schools who aren’t that concerned to such kind of bullying. Don’t be a bully.

    Posted by: Bullying help | Dec 15, 2011 8:56:56 AM


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