A classmate of New York schoolboy Jamey Rodemeyer has been suspended for chanting that the bullied gay teenager was “better off dead”.
The student made the taunts at a Williamsville North High School dance attended by Jamey’s sister.
Jamey, 14, killed himself last month after suffering years of homophobic bullying. His parents said he was being bullied even in death.
The teenager was a fan of gay-friendly singer Lady Gaga and was buried in a ‘Born This Way’ t-shirt.
His parents told how they allowed his sister to attend a September 22nd school dance to be with her friends but taunting began when a Lady Gaga song was played.
Tim and Tracey Rodemeyer told the Today programme: “We thought it would be great to be with all of her friends, then all of sudden a Lady Gaga song came on and they all started chanting for Jamey, all his friends and whatever. Then the bullies that put him into this situation started chanting ‘You’re better off dead, we’re glad you’re dead.’”
The couple, who said their daughter was “all upset” added that “it was supposed to be time for her to grieve and have fun with her friends and it turned into bullying even after he’s gone”.
School district superintendent Scott Martzloff confirmed that the student had been suspended and would be punished “to the fullest extent allowed under education law.”
“We will not let the actions of any student threaten the emotional well-being of others,” he said.
Police are considering charging a number of students in relation to Jamey’s death.
Meanwhile, state legislation has been proposed to curb the problem of anti-gay and other forms of bullying.
State Senator Jeffrey Klein’s bill is designed to “modernise New York State’s harassment laws and crack down on the emerging cyberbullying epidemic”.
Mr Klein said: “Our laws are not keeping pace with technology and we are paying a human price for it.
“No longer is bullying only confined to the schoolyard, it is now piped in an instant through victim’s computers and onto the devices they carry in their pockets. This legislation will help provide protections to those who need it, as well as send a strong message about the seriousness of this destructive behaviour.”