Shock, disbelief and outrage after an internal "review" by the DeKalb County (Georgia) School District finds "no evidence" of the relentless bullying of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera, who hanged himself after months of anti-gay taunts and violence. Two people arrested, one parent called the retired judge who headed the investigation "a liar", and Jaheem's mother was crying, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Retired Fulton Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, who headed the review, said at a press conference the findings show Jaheem Herrera, 11, actively participated in several fights at Dunaire Elementary School during the school year.
His mother, Masika Bermudez, broke down crying 13 minutes into the press conference. Bermudez has insisted her son killed himself after being constantly bullied at Dunaire and that she had complained to school officials several times.
More than a dozen people showed up to hear the findings at the school district’s headquarters on North Decatur Road near Clarkston, and reaction was swift and harsh. One man was forcibly removed from the building after he started shouting, “Shame!”
Jaheem’s teachers said they did not see or hear bullying or harassment directed at the child and that he appeared well-liked by classmates. The school system’s lawyers released six signed statements by Jaheem’s teachers and staff as requested by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution under the Georgia Open Records Act.
The not-very-surprising findings of the "review" come at the same time Masika Bermudez and other parents file suit against the DeKalb County School District. The "investigation" is in response to a possible criminal investigation as other parents say their sons were bullied, harassed, "called gay" and beaten with belt buckles at the same school.
The report continues: "A friend of Jaheem’s family, Monique McMiller, said four of her children attend Dunaire, including her son, whom she said was bullied in March 2008. McMiller said the principal was unresponsive and that the same kids then are causing problems now. McMiller said she was interviewed by Moore for the judge’s report, as was her son, who McMiller said broke down in tears during the session. The judge’s conclusion 'makes her [Moore] a liar,' McMiller said. 'To come to a conclusion there’s no bullying, to drag that family underneath like that, is embarrassing.'
Alice Brown, the mother of A.J. Brown, Jaheem's best friend who defended him from bullies, witnessed and complained about bullying toward Jaheem on multiple occasions. Brown was forced to pull her son from classes after Jaheem's suicide because classmates were harassing him for "snitching."
To recap: The judge recruited by the school district to investigate the school district finds nothing. Six teachers who could be named in a lawsuit deny they saw any bullying. Really? How very surprising. The school district's papier-mâché "investigation" is a fraud and will eventually be exposed for what it is: A cover-up by teachers and administrators who looked the other way as students glorified "thug culture" and bullied their classmate to death.
Thanks JAMES M in Chattanooga!
You May Have Missed ...
Jaheem Herrera's Family Files Suit [R20]
Prosecutors Weigh Criminal Charges in "Bully-Cide" [R20]
DeKalb Schools Investigate Jaheem Herrera's Suicide [R20]
Boston Globe: Carl "Bullied to Death" [R20]
Jaheem Called "Gay" Hours Before Dying [R20]
Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover's Mother on "Ellen" [R20]
Anti-Gay Bullying Drives Georgia Boy to Suicide [R20]
ABC News on Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover [R20]
CNN on Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Bullying [R20]
Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover's Mother Speaks Out [R20]
Anti-Gay Bullying Drives Mass. Student to Suicide [R20]
Mother Calls for State Investigation [R20]
Funeral for Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover [R20]