DeKalb: Bullying not key in boy’s suicide

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imageFirst it was “gay means happy.” Now, it’s “serious domestic violence.”

Those are some of the results of the DeKalb County school system’s investigation into the April death of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera. His mother says Herrera was the victim of bullycide, hanging himself in his bedroom after repeatedly facing anti-gay taunts from classmates despite her complaints to school officials.

School system officials say not so fast.

On Wednesday, they released a final report on their probe into Herrera’s death, citing a “complex” set of factors that contributed to his death. Chief among them was “serious domestic abuse” between his mother and her boyfriend, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s the first time in the well-publicized case that domestic violence was mentioned.

Attorney Gerald Griggs, the family’s spokesman, said past domestic violence incidents against Bermudez have no bearing on the case. System officials, he said, are purposely trying to divert attention away from problems at the school.

“I would hope they’d do the responsible thing and take responsibility” for what caused Jaheem to take his own life, Griggs said. “The evidence is out there. We have witnesses, including school teachers.”


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