Police closed the Jamey Rodemeyer case today without prosecuting any of his bullies, saying they lacked proof he'd been harassed.
Rodemeyer killed himself in September after facing bullying that he "could never escape,” he said in posts on the Internet. But Amherst, N.Y., police chief John Askey said that despite the 14-year-old's complaints online about bullying, there wasn't enough evidence of what happened, and the bullying couldn't be pinned to any single student.
For example, police toldTheBuffalo News that they had investigated five incidents at North High School and found none had been reported to authorities, leaving investigators to rely on secondhand information.
"In most cases, you need a victim and a complaint," Askey told the News, noting that he isn't satisfied with the outcome.
After their son's death, Rodemeyer's parents shared a story on the Today show of how their daughter had gone to a school dance to take her mind off the death of her brother only to be met with taunts of "better off dead." The superintendent identified the student responsible for the chants and issued a suspension, taking the punishment "to the fullest extent allowed under education law."
That appears to be where the punishment will stop in the Rodemeyer case. The superintendent said he planned more education about the effects of bullying.
The tragedy had become a flash point in the national debate over how to address bullying, with Lady Gaga raising the issue with President Obama shortly afterward and activists calling for increased antibullying protections in schools.
Also in recent months, a videotaped beating of an Ohio student whose mother says he was repeatedly harassed for being gay became a viral sensation on YouTube because of outrage.
All of this has contributed to renewed attention around bullying and how it sometimes ends in death, including a special report from Anderson Cooper on CNN. Experts recommend that any young LGBT person with thoughts of suicide contact the Trevor Project’s hotline (866-4-U-TREVOR).