Gay Tennessee Student Ends Life After Years of Bullying
A senior at Cheatham County Central High School in Ashland City, a small town in Cheatham County in north-central, Tenn., took his life on Wednesday, Dec. 7, after enduring years of anti-gay bullying, reported topnews|Ashland City/The Tennessean in a Dec. 8 article.
The Nashville NBC affiliate WSMVk reported that a number of Jacob Rogers’ classmates claim that he was being harassed because he was gay. One of Rogers’ close friends told the media that she thinks he took his life because he could not handle the constant bullying.
"He started coming home his senior year saying ’I don’t want to go back. Everyone is so mean. They call me a faggot, they call me gay, a queer,’" friend Kaelynn Mooningham said.
"Jacob told me no one was helping him. He constantly was going to guidance," she added.
Cheatham County Director of Schools Tim Webb claims that school officials were only informed about one incident of bullying. Webb said that the high school’s principal, Glenna Barrow, contacted the students who were accused of harassing Rogers and were given warnings.
"If we know about it, we are going to deal with it, but we have to know about it first," Webb said.
Webb also said that Barrow ran into Rogers on a later date and asked him how he was feeling. Rodgers said he was doing better.
Mooningham, however, claims that Rogers was not feeling any better and that he was contemplating dropping out of school.
"No one would listen and stand up for him," she said.
The Tennessee Equality Project issued a statement and is asking the Cheatham County School Board to thoroughly investigate Rodger’s case and what school officials did to respond to the alleged acts of bullying.
EDGE reported in a May 20 article that Tennessee lawmakers passed two anti-gay measures. One of them strengthened the state’s "Don’t Say Gay" rule that prohibits teachers to discuss LGBT issues in high school. The other legislation would strip local governments of the power to implement anti-discrimination laws that would protect members of the LGBT community.
The suicide came only a day after Lady Gaga came to the White House to discuss the problem of bullying in school. There are an estimated 13 million students -- one-third attending school -- who are affected by bullying.