Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old boy from Williamsville, NY, took his life Sunday after what his parents claim was years of bullying because of struggles with his sexuality.
His parents, Tracy and Tim Rodemeyer, say that Jamey faced bullies for years, though things intensified in middle school, according to NBC 2. Jamey recently became a freshman at Williamsville North High School.
In the wake of their loss, the Rodemeyers hope to carry on a message of anti-bullying and acceptance. "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," Jamey's father told WIVB.
Tracy Rodemeyer misses her son, but hopes the loss can still be used to teach a message of tolerance. "It took him away from our family way too early and we're just convinced that he had a purpose on this planet and it was to touch as many people as he could," she told NBC 2.
According to NBC, the Rodemeyers had gone to the school about the problem in the past. Jamey even sought counseling to learn to deal with the problem, but it seems it wasn't enough.
While they say their son seemed happy in the days leading up to the tragedy, his "It Gets Better" YouTube posting from May includes details about how intense the bullying was.
Through it all, Jayme remained outwardly optimistic. âThat's all you have to do. Just love yourself and you're set. And I promise you, it'll get better,â he said in the video, which you can see in full below.
Gay bullying has been gaining increasing attention in the media, as a number of tragedies has brought the issue into the spotlight. Earlier this month the California State Senate passed "Seth's Law" a measure designed to curb anti-gay bullying in schools.