WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB)- Bullying started in second grade for Williamsville teenager, Jamey Rodemyer.
His mom, Tracy, said it got better at one point, but when he started high school things took a turn.
“By the second week of school, he just figured he was in for four more years of bullying that he couldn’t take, so he decided to take things into his own hands,” Tracy told News 4.
Jamey took his own life in 2011.
His family created a memorial garden in their backyard, where Jamey was found; they go there to feel closer to him.
They’re also dedicated to sending a message about bullying. Fours years ago, they teamed up with Lorraine Elementary for the Bully Free 5K.
The school has raised almost $20,000 so far for anti-bully programs.
“It’s happening when the teachers aren’t around, whether it’s in the hallway, whether they’re at their lockers getting ready for the morning,” said organizer Kelly Gaisor.
National experts are now calling bullying a serious public health problem. A new study by the Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says up to 31 percent of kids are bullied.
The Rodemeyer family, local leaders, and students wrote messages of support outside the school, to remind everyone they’r entering a bully free zone.
The study shows up to 15 percent of kids are affected by cyber-bullying, which is on the rise.
“I would say maybe 10 percent of his bullying was physical. The rest were verbal, you know people texting bad things, saying stuff on Facebook,” Tracy said.
Gaisor told News 4 it’s all about teaching kids to be an active bystander at an early age.
“If you see it, you do something about it. If you see somebody being bullied, you stand up and you say this isn’t right,” she said.
Rodemeyer feels bullying is a growing problem in Western New York, and wants her son’s legacy to help stop it.