This is major: The DeKalb County, Georgia District Attorney is considering filing criminal charges on behalf of Jaheem Herrera, the 11-year-old boy who committed suicide after months of relentless harassment and anti-gay bullying, reports WXIA-TV.
"We're trying to get an understanding on what the law is and what the facts are, and see how the two merge and how any kind of criminal activity can be put together from the two," DeKalb County DA Gwen Keyes Fleming said.
She said she will need the dates and times of bullying incidents at Jaheem's school—along with the names of anyone involved. Questions attorneys for the family may be able to answer.
"I know it's not a formal investigation yet, but we believe that once she looks into it, in Georgia there are certain laws that call someone to be a mandatory reporter in incidents of crime and we believe that there was at least one crime perpetrated in this bullying incident," said the family's attorney, Gerald Griggs.
While criminal liability may be a long shot, civil liability for the little boy's suicide may not be. Especially if the school failed to report any acts of violence against him or others.
The criminal investigation into the DeKalb County School District gains momentum as other parents say their sons were also bullied, harassed, "called gay" and beaten with belt buckles at the same school, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The mother of A.J. Brown—Jaheem's best friend who defended him from bullies—was forced to pull her son from classes after Jaheem's suicide.
"Basically he [A.J.] was called names because he was defending Jaheem," Alice Brown says. "I think people need to take this issue seriously."
Jaheem's mother, Masika Bermudez, appeared on CNN's AC360 to speak out against homophobia and the bullying that drove her 11-year-old boy to suicide.
Watch AC360's report AFTER THE JUMP.
Masika Bermudez says: "Mom, they keep calling me gay. What is this gay word? Why is it so bad?" The grieving murder says she has removed her other children from the school system and is returning to St. Croix, Virgin Islands where her children were "safe".
Indeed. Why is "gay" so bad? Where are the children in middle-class DeKalb County learning such hate?
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