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Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Joshua David Pacheco, 17: Bullied Because of Being Gay

with 38 comments


Tuesday, November 27th, I received this from the creator of Wipe Out Homophobia.  It was sent to him from one of his members:

Today my friend’s good friend, a seventeen year old boy by the name of Josh, killed himself after being continuously bullied for being gay. Josh had his whole life ahead of him, but the ignorant and hateful words of others caused that to be taken away from him. How many people need to die before this world realizes that something is wrong with the way we are treating people?! The constitution states that every human being has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Josh was as human as any of the rest of us, yet he was stripped of all of those rights. This needs to change. No matter gay, straight, or anything else, we all are human, and therefore must all stand up for equal human rights. Please, think before you speak, and make an effort to stand up for those around you. Together we can put a stop to this. Rest in peace, Josh. ♥♥josh pachecoJosh was a junior at Linden High School.  His mother describes him as:

“…very sensitive, to others’ needs and feelings but also to his own,” He gave his whole self fully to any person he could.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough as boys from his school constantly and severely bullied Josh until he couldn’t take it anymore.  In talking to the person who originally alerted me about this tragedy, Rachelle, I was able to learn from one of his close friends, through Rachelle, some of the horrors he had to endure.

All I know is that he was bullied in our theatre class by three boys. He felt very uncomfortable. One even went as far as to tell him he spent a lot of time on his knees. He wouldn’t tell everyone who all of them were.josh pacheco2

“That, in and of itself, does constitute bullying although it doesn’t really seem as though it would be enough to push Josh, or anyone over the edge”, is what some would probably say to those charges.  And, on one level, I guess it would make sense.  However, when you add that to other direct information, coming from one of Josh’s friends, it’s a lot easier to understand why he felt he had no other choice:

[members of] the Linden football team pushed him around, [urinated] on him and taped him to his locker.

That action is reprehensible and repulsive.  More to the point, there are obviously people – or, at least one person! – who knows about this.  It is incumbent upon that person, or those people, to come forward with any and all information they have pertaining to this.  Those boys who did this need to be held accountable.  Their actions caused another human being to end his life.  It’s not enough to say that their karma will take care of it.  They need to be dealt with in the here and now.  Anything less is unacceptable.

“Josh would never give us names. He was so intimidated by these kids who picked on him,” Josh’s father, said. “If he would have given me or the school details, we would have handled it. Don’t be afraid to speak out. You need to tell people what’s going on.”

This has gone on far too long!  We’re all aware of the devastating effects bullying can have on people, especially teens!  The “STOP BULLYING!” conversation has been going on long enough, and in enough different forums, that I’m fully, 100% convinced that a.) it’s impossible for any human being with a shred of intelligence to not know what’s going on and what it’s causing; and, b.) those who continue to engage in these actions are simply, and clearly, saying that they just don’t give a rat’s ass about the potential outcome.  And, with that being the case, and seeing the death toll continue to mount, explain to me, slowly so that I can understand it, why these people are not being held accountable?

“He told me he felt like he wasn’t good enough. He said if he lost weight he would be happy,” Joshua’s mother said. “But he wasn’t. Then, he said if he came out [as a homosexual], he would be happy. Then, it was if the kids at school stopped teasing him. He came to me and said he still didn’t feel happy. I realized then it wasn’t something, being a mom, that I could fix.”

These “kids” are being allowed to engage in actions that are completely devastating lives.  Not only are their actions leading to suicides, there are countless families and friends whose lives are being decimated.  How is it fair that they are continuously given a free pass?  In this case, where there is at least one person who knows for certain who was doing this to Joshua Pacheco, it is imperative to bring that information to the light.  Knowing that someone taped another human to their locker and urinated on them is simply not something to be kept secret, especially now that we know what those actions have led to.

What we’re seeing today is a generation of young people who simply don’t care about people around them or, in some cases, human life in general.  Certainly not the entire generation, but enough to have an impact.  And, we’re seeing the drastic consequences on a near-daily basis.  One of my treasured associates had this to say, just moments ago as a comment on yet another post about yet another teen who had been bullied to the point of ending his life:

The several known kids who bullied Jamey Rodemeyer, who died 9/18/2011, were subjects of a criminal investigation. The result: five-day suspensions from school. They had hard evidence of online posts telling him to kill himself, AND, the kids were still bullying him after his death. His sister went to a school dance not too long after Jamey’s death, and when Jamey’s favorite song came on, the bullies began chanting “You’re better off dead! We’re glad you’re dead!” This whole situation has long since reached the point of being unbelievably horrible. Yet this country is like the proverbial frog in a pot of heating water–we’ve gradually gotten so used to the deadly situation that we don’t even notice death.

You know we’ve become a desensitized society when the youth of our society have no problem committing acts that they know can lead to another person’s death yet continue doing it.  Often times even after their victim has ended their life.  How is it that we’re okay with this being who we’ve become as a people?

So sorry this had to happen to you, Josh.  Rest in peace.joshua pacheco

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38 Responses

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  1. There are no consequences in place for this horrifying, atrocious behaviour. In your teen years you are not able to process that this will end when there is a constant stream of aggressive, frightening bullying coming at you. Chronic stress (created by the daily environment of bullying) leads to anxiety and depression and a sense of hopelessness. RIP Joshua. I wish you had not died. I wish my son and I could have reached out to you so you knew it truly does get better. As for the bullies, well, I can’t say what I would like to, so I shall hold my tongue.

    Karen

    December 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm

  2. Heart Breaking!!! Another poor teenager bullied to death for being gay, what he had to endure is shocking, something has to be done, his tormentors should be publicly named and brought to justice over this.. Leaders across the world should stand up and take action and make bullying a crime that they should be jailed for!!!! RIP Joshua, hope you are at peace now..

    Paul King

    December 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    • our leaders are all homophobs, so what’s happening here is normal for them !!!!!!

      Jereffuse Khan

      December 3, 2012 at 11:12 am

  3. RIP dear Joshua: as the mother of someone who was severely bullied and thankfully survived- scarred but survived- I do so know the helplessness,powerlessness and impotence you feel as a parent- WHEN will schools and “authorities” recognize that “teasing” is a weapon- and kids are vulnerable- rest in peace dear one, and blessings and peace to your parents xo

    Therese

    December 2, 2012 at 10:42 pm

  4. I hope your truly in peace now. This is just horrible. Who would do that? These people should have to pay for what they did. They lead josh to his death. Rest In peace josh.

    allie

    December 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm

  5. May God grant the peace you deserve.May god forgive the bullies that did this to you.

    john Barrett

    December 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm

  6. I am the mother of teenagers who are kind and compassionate, partly by nature and partly because that is what we’ve taught them, and many of their classmates are also kind and compassionate. It seems to me that while we need to continue all efforts to educate our society, perhaps the most important piece is encouraging pride and self-acceptance in kids, no matter how “different” they may be or may feel. Another important piece is for parents to seek alternatives to sending their children in to unhealthy, unsafe situations. We can’t protect our kids from everything, but when the school environment is hostile on a regular basis, there are other options. If enough parents refused to send their kids to schools where bullying is not properly addressed, then maybe the schools would respond with real change. Rest in peace, Joshua.

    Leigh

    December 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    • You may not have meant it this way, but it sounds like you’re blaming Josh’s parents. And that’s as wrong as the bullying that caused his death.

      Beth Bowles

      December 3, 2012 at 12:25 am

    • well said! Hurt them where it counts, in the pocketbook. Then we might get something done. We have had the same problem in Millington Schools and they look the other way. The football team does what ever they want. Sad when sports and jocks control the school.

      parent

      December 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

  7. heart breaking! 😦

    Enielsy Sierra

    December 3, 2012 at 12:06 am

  8. I feel so sorry for this tragic loss for the family and friends. This harassment is getting worse and nomatter how many anti bullying projects this world raise for the cause, it is still not serious enough.. Another young person took their life because they felt hated by ignorant and stupid people and i sincerely hope they will regret their actions till the day they leave this world themselves. Nobody deserves to be hated on for any reason!

    It is soon 2013 and this world needs to wake up and starting accepting people for whatever sexual orientation, skin colour og religion.. we are all in this world together and all need to respect eachother if we are ever going to be able to survive on this planet together.

    There are a gang of people on YouTube, calling themselves, TheCrusadingWolfpack and they are hating on gay people and telling lies about them and i can´t understand why Google, the owners of these servers dont do anthing to prevent these kind of people to act like this on their site? with todays technology, it should be possible for them to trace their IP address and have the police visiting these kind of people to make them stop. Cyber bullying, Harassment and all kinds of hate and hatecrimes needs to stop and one way could possible be to make some serious laws about this issue and the “attacker” would risk a serious prison sentence instead of just get out of this with no responsibility held to them.

    Look at these guy who has been hating, harassing, insulting and cyber-bullying innocent people on YouTube. They should be banned from the website permanently. http://www.youtube.com/user/thecrusadingwolfpack

    I give my sincere condolences to the poor family and pray that they will find strenght and hope in eachother to get through this tragic loss of their son, friend.

    Regards, Michael.

    Michael Williams

    December 3, 2012 at 12:29 am

    • I have just submitted complaints to Youtube about each and every video by TheCrusadingWolfpack after seeing your post here. Two have come down in the time it’s taken me to report them and come back here. Thanks for letting people know. BTW, this group seems especially horrendous as they keep their faces wrapped in clothing so they won’t be identified and will actually take the time to research their victims and then post personally-identifying information about their victims so as to further their bullying/terror.

      Kevin Andersen

      December 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

  9. Teens learn at home that it is OK to hate and bully those you think are different. It is not an excuse, but as long as parents pass along their hateful view of the world things will be slow to change.

    “You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught!”
    (written in 1949 and nothing has changed in over 60 years.)

    Must we wait another 60 years for those who see the bullying to have the courage to report it? Tell anyone and everyone who will listen.
    Maintaining silence makes you complicit.

    seeg

    December 3, 2012 at 1:44 am

  10. I really am tired of hearing these kinds of stories, Ron, in that I don’t see how many more are going to have to die before we get a handle on this and prevent any other kids from being hurt. We need to begin to speak out to our senators, congressmen, and governors in a *serious* way. This is ridiculous that this continues day after day.

    the warrioress

    December 3, 2012 at 4:53 am

  11. I am straight LGBT activist for over 24+ years of fighting for the community and every time I hear stories like this i want to cry and something/one! I have been praying for the day that I can “retire” but then I read stories like this and know I can never retire till we remove the hate from peoples hearts and minds.

    My condolences to his family and friends and May His Memory Be for a Blessing 😥

    And to my 20 yo niece that came out in the beginning of this year, as I told you in the past (before ou came out), that I love you, I will always love you, and will be always there for you – no matter what!

    lordlnyc

    December 3, 2012 at 4:54 am

  12. Reblogged this on life of a female bible warrior and commented:
    Ron is a wonderful blogger who cares very much about bullied children, who regularly writes about their plight. Please join him in fighting these kinds of atrocities by writing and speaking to our public officials who can change the laws we currently have about bullying.

    the warrioress

    December 3, 2012 at 4:55 am

  13. Sad sad tale indeed. My heart goes out to Joshs Mum and Dad. And as for the bullys I hope one day you get yours,

    Geoff Regan

    December 3, 2012 at 5:42 am

  14. Does anybody intend to look into the death of Jenna Neff, a beautiful young girl from the purchase line school district in pa.

    Kimberly Ainsworth

    December 3, 2012 at 7:08 am

    • Kimberly, I do apologize for that. I think I told you a few weeks ago that I was going to get that story out. Things happen quickly, and I sometimes fall behind, much to my own chagrin.

      Ron Kemp

      December 3, 2012 at 8:27 am

  15. My heart aches for the young man and all the devastated family and friends left behind to attempt to piece their lives back together. I pray that Joshua has found peace. I pray that his family and friends will find some semblance of peace. And I pray that the tormenters and bullies are brought to justice.

    Robyn

    December 3, 2012 at 7:21 am

  16. Enough already! Too many have died. It is so sad and so unnecessary. Remember the Asian soldier in the army who took his own life because of being tormented by other soldiers. And they should have known better. What was the punishment of those bullies. A slap on the wrist. I agree with various writers above that we must get serious about punishing those who bully others, regardless of the reason. It is a “hate” crime and must be dealt with as such. My heart goes out to Josh’s family. May he rest in peace in God’s loving hands where he can never be rejected again. And may the world wake up and come to its senses. You hurt one of us, you hurt all of us. Peace. – MikeD

    Michael DeCastro

    December 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm

  17. As much as we need to address the issue of bullying, we also need to be spreading the message that suicide is never the answer. Bullying and hazing in school is not a recent phenomenon aimed just at gay kids–it’s been going on for ages targeting anyone who is different. It’s tempting to automatically blame bad parenting, but I’ve seen good parents who just can’t get their kids to behave no matter what. It’s called teenage rebellion. You can have all the rules and programs you want, but some stuff is still going to slip under the radar. Kids need to know that high school isn’t like the adult world. It gets better.

    We absolutely shouldn’t tolerate people being urinated on or shoved into lockers or dunked in toilets. But snide comments are hard to police. Teachers can’t be everywhere listening in on everyone’s conversations. I’d say 90% of kids are generally pretty tolerant of others. It’s the vindictive 10% that makes life miserable. Bullies don’t pick on people merely out of hate or intolerance; they do it because they think it’s fun. Kids like this don’t have a moral compass, and you can’t force one on them. That’s what makes them so intimidating.

    I think one thing parents of victims can do to help is to provide a safe environment for their kids to escape to. With every kid now having access to social media and cell phones, bullying often continues well after school. I think that’s why suicide is a bigger issue these days. Thankfully, all I had access to in school was email. I’d encourage parents to truly consider whether your child needs a cell phone with texting capabilities. And I’d tell them to make friending their child on social media (or having their password) a condition of having a Facebook page. At least then they can stop any bullying occurring online.

    I wonder if Josh’s parents ever offered to get counseling for him after he stated so many times that he was unhappy, even after coming out. 😦

    April K

    December 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    • The board of education needs to do something harsh enough that the kids will stop and think before they speak. There has to be some kind or ruling that if this behavior is seen they will be ban from that school forever. Some people like to make others feel or look bad because they think lowly of themselfs. Young people need to step in if they see this and stop it or talk to the teachers about it. The ones being bullied may not report it. I’m sorry that Josh is gone. I will pray for his family and friends.

      Steve Takacs

      December 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm

  18. As this is very sad. Is not right that the article says “the linden football team” my son is part if that team, and in no way did he or several other team memebers ever bullie Josh. There are many football players on that team that are out standing young men. I would greatly appreciated if you would fix that as it is not fair to bring the hole team down because 2 or 3 players are durt bags.The rest of the team does not deserve this.

    tracy

    December 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    • Good point, Tracy. I will edit that. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      Ron Kemp

      December 3, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      • It’s been edited, Tracy. Refresh your browser to see the edited version. Thanks again.

        Ron Kemp

        December 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm

  19. As a parent of a teenage boy, I am glad to say he was raised to respect others and not judge others lifestyles. He has a few friends who are going through some very tough times in their lives and lends an ear to listen and his shoulder to cry on. It’s hard for a parent to watch their child suffer and sometimes it even seems that everything is ok when really deep down it’s not.I ask my son everyday to please tell me if there is anything bothering him. We have that connection where I think he would tell me but no one can really be sure. My heart really goes out to Josh’s family and their loss.It sounds like they were doing all the right things but sometimes it seems like kids that age don’t want to disappoint their loved ones so they keep all their feelings bottled up.I sure hope the school does get to the bottom of who the bullies were and they are prosecuted for their crime. I also hope the bullies that did this to Josh come forward and take responsibilty for their actions. This will be in their conscience forever. Knowing you bullied someone to death is as bad as pulling the trigger on a gun. R.I.P Josh. I hope the angels take care of you and you can watch over your family in this time of sorrow.

    marti

    December 4, 2012 at 1:10 am

  20. Josh may have been bullied, but people are still responsible for their own actions/decisions. Unfortunately, Josh made this horrible decision due to, possibly being bullied? Gay? Not well liked? Who really know’s. Bullying definitely needs to be addressed, but also teen suicide, and learning to cope with the ways of this evil world when one is having struggles. Nobody caused Josh to commit suicide, he did that action on his own, possibly not knowing how to cope with the pressures in life. I pray for his family and friends during this difficult time.

    Dan

    December 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    • I think that’s a very callous, and out-of-tune with today’s times, point-of-view.

      Ron Kemp

      December 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      • I disagree. I think Dan is spot-on. It is not callous. It’s true. The sooner we learn that, the sooner we can accept that the solution lies in our own self-worth and take actions to improve our view of ourselves – not other’s view of us. It may also help if parents seek out professional help for their children the moment they think there may be emotional instability issues.

        These poor kids don’t feel protected or safe enough to bust their bullies. Don’t leave names even before committing suicide? Why is that? Maybe we as a society should work on that little problem and work toward stronger consequences for even the most minimal physical assault. Also, supervision in schools should be prevalent. These are kids – not adults. I see no reason why they should be un-supervised long enough to tape a kid to a locker and urinate on him. It’s disgusting, abusive, and worthy of legal action.

        Lisa F.

        December 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm

  21. Im really sorry that this poor lad had to endure this HOWEVER I wish people would stop throwing the “homophobic” label around………This kid was not hounded because he was gay, he was hounded because bullies ALWAYS pick the soft target.

    Nigel Pearce

    December 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm

  22. I am Josh’s cousin (his mother Lynettes first cousin). Lynn and Josh’s stepfather Mike are just as stunned and frustrated as you all are. They were not even aware until the weekend after Thanksgiving to the extent to which Josh was being bullied. It wasn’t until the funeral that educators from his school came to them “anonymously” telling them they were aware of some of the abuse. Lynn and Mike are now advocating change at the school and demanding answers from the school’s administration. What I would like to ask each and everyone on this site that reads my message to do…is take action yourself. Lynn, Mike, and Josh’s father David appreciate the kind words that you are giving your son. But we would like to ask you in Josh’s memory to take action in your own communities. When you hear of bullying or suicide due to bullying in your own community…contact the school, the government, anyone that will listen and demand answers…demand they take action. If we can hold bullies accountable, and also hold schools accountable for taking bullying seriously…then maybe Josh won’t have died for nothing. Thank you.

    Scott Wakefield

    December 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    • Thanks a lot, Scott, for taking the time to leave a comment here. I know the family is really going through a lot right now. THIS “If we can hold bullies accountable, and also hold schools accountable for taking bullying seriously…then maybe Josh won’t have died for nothing.” is exactly why I write these. We still have a long way to go to get there, obviously, but that just means that we have to keep trying harder. You and your family are in my thoughts, Scott. Thanks, again, for taking the time to leave your comment.

      Ron Kemp

      December 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

  23. I just saw this on Facebook from a pic posted by World of Gay People then googled Josh’s name and came across this page. I didn’t know Josh at all but I wish to extend my most heartfelt condolences to Josh’s family. What an awful tragedy. This just breaks my heart. You can tell what a sweet, wonderful, innocent person he was as it really comes across just from his picture.

    I am so sorry Josh had to endure everything he went through and I hope those responsible will be held accountable in a way that matters, and not just a slap on the wrist. I so wish I could have been there to put a certain and definite stop to anything and everything Josh ever had to endure from the Neanderthal punks who bullied him, each and every time. I am so tired of hearing about gay teens committing suicide and it really reflects how ignorant, sick, and inhumane so many people are in the U.S. today. How many more gay teens do we have to lose? How many more families have to go through this awful pain before we decide as a country to put a stop to it? Something really must be done to keep gay teens from taking what they see as the only way out. We need strict anti-bullying measures put in place in ALL schools, and taught all the way down to kindergarten level. It’s the moral thing to do. I don’t care what ridiculous and hypocritical reason(s) the religious right has for not wanting a simple and humane policy put in place — nothing can replace the treasure that is being lost because of ignorant bullies.

    I don’t know what I can do from here but I’ll do whatever I can to help stop this madness. Sorry if I sound a little upset but I am so sick and tired of hearing about gay teens committing suicide because of bullies. Again, I am so sorry and I hope Josh now has the peace he didn’t have here on this plane.

    Preston Ward

    December 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

  24. I read this and it just brought tears to my eyes.. I think the bullies and the parents should be prosecuted !! I was bullied when I was in school and my heart goes out for the 17 year old boy and his family.. gay bisexual straight transgender it don’t matter you are a human being !! these boys are disgusting filthy of the youth today !! when is this kinda trash going to stop !! what is wrong with the parents these days raising these children to be like this ! yes I blame the parents as well as the bullies ! I am deeply saddened for this tragic situation.. so sad in that I had to speak out .. no 1 deserves to be bullied and the school knew about this they should be prosecuted !! I don’t understand what makes kids teenagers whoever be so cruel !! they are disgusting do you ever act the way they acted !! I think of people in other people’s to stick up for this boy and his family add voice their opinions that these boys at the parents will be prosecuted !! I deeply sorry for Josh and his family… and I hope that no family or any child has to indure this tragic situation.. reading this made me angry in my heart just break … I’m so glad there such thing as karma!!

    Bella

    December 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

  25. My name is Alana Steele, Josh was bestfriend. It’s really disheartening to know that this is how he is getting noticed. He deserved so much more then 17 years full of sadness. I would just like some facts to be pointed out. Josh was NEVER urinated on, and we are trying to get to the bottom of if he was taped to lockers or not.
    I spent everyday and every weekend with Josh and had absolutely NO IDEA he was depressed or bullied. Please don’t blame Josh’s parents or his friends. Josh acted happy everyday and harbored quite a lot inside thank you for your time and I appreciate your concern.
    Rest in parade, Joshy.

    Alana Steele

    December 6, 2012 at 9:53 pm

  26. to those boys or girls that bully other teens; they need to be jailed or something where they are begging to die themselves….if they only knew what they were doing to these other teens; If if they only knew what they are doing to their mother and fathers and familys; they should sereiously need something happen to them; but I think to myself; I AM NOT THAT STUPID TO HARM FAMILIES OF THESE TEENS. I am a mother of a suicide victum; and not even bullied; but troubled by something; (as a mother) couldn’t fix. He loved his family; but……something just wasn’t right; it has to be something in his mind that he thought he was unworthy of life itself; so I know the hurt it can bring to parents. I ask myself everyday; what could I have done; who did what; and many other questions; only he knew…He always told how much he loved us as his parents…..to my knowledge….I have no answers..I just knew he had pain from something. But teens that bully other teens need to think before they say and do things to another person; and think of how they would feel….they just need to be taken care of in a way they would understand the pain. So sorry for the parents and families of these two boys; the pain never goes away. The love is there always….Michael; rest in pease and KNOW YOU WERE LOVED; to the very end…

    Marcia Uptigrove

    December 8, 2012 at 12:49 am


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