Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey took on bullying in schools during her show Wednesday, coverage that included the mother of a DeKalb County boy who committed suicide last month.
The show included Masika Bermudez, the mother of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera. The student killed himself April 16 after facing anti-gay taunts and bullying by classmates. His death prompted an outcry that included gay clergy members holding a vigil and an ongoing investigation by the DeKalb District Attorney.
On Wednesday, Bermudez told Winfrey that her son seemed especially depressed on the day he later committed suicide. The interview was taped three days after Herrera’s funeral.
“He don’t want to eat,” Bermudez (photo) told Winfrey. “He don’t want to brush his hair. He don’t want to brush his teeth. I thought he was sick.”
In their last moment together, Bermudez said she high-fived her son after seeing his report card. Jaheem then walked to his room and hanged himself.
“Did your son leave a note?” Winfrey asked Bermudez.
“No. He just did it,” she responded.
Winfrey’s website includes a page about the show with a lengthy article and photos. It also includes links to several resources, including ones for the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and tips for recognizing when children are being bullied.
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