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Bullycide: Jeffrey Fehr's Story

Updated on April 9, 2019
Jeffrey Fehr, 18-years-old, bullied for being openly gay
Jeffrey Fehr, 18-years-old, bullied for being openly gay
Jeffrey Fehr is remembered by those that loved him
Jeffrey Fehr is remembered by those that loved him

Family Wonders Why

Jeffrey Fehr's family still wonder's why he committed suicide. The look back on his life and they think they know why. The overall consensus seems that even though he had recently ended a relationship prior to taking his own life, the years of bullying was why he chose to leave this world. He was bullied for being openly gay. Fehr's father confides that they second guess themselves all the time but they do know that for years and years their son was taunted, teased and harassed. That he was always knocked down for being different and overall it had damaged him and hurt him deeply. He also admitted that because of the damage and hurt, Jeffrey was unable to see who he really was and see those that really loved him.

Jeffrey's brother's were into sports and he wasn't and instead always had hung around with the girls and played with the them on the playground equipment. He didn't have many friends. Fehr's brother remembers that his little brother would come home from school and cry because he felt so alone and he didn't understand why people didn't accept him the way he was. The family recalled the first time Jeffrey had been called the word "fag" was in sixth grade. It broke his mother's heart but they did what they could to boost his confidence.

In order to direct their son's attention to feeling good about himself they sent him to therapy, encouraged him to pursue things that he enjoyed, and secretly hoped that in high school it would be his time to shine. Jeffrey had gotten involved in music, theatre, and dance.

High school was no better and whenever he was dropped off for school his father grimly remembers he always hung his head. One day a student purposefully knocked his lunch tray onto the floor and the surrounding students laughed. A gay slur was painted on the Fehr's driveway and it just didn't seem to end. Jeffrey's father said that he was really angry at the principal at Granite Bay High School, Michael McGuire. was aware of some of the things that had been going on but didn't think it was to a level the school had to get involved.

When you think back at the rules that you have at that age, middle school when hormones are raging, you will remember strict rules set by the school and the district of behavior expected in the cafeteria. Some school's have the code of conduct mounted on the wall. There is a definite and clear disciplinary procedure in place as there are a lot of kids and very few adults to supervise. So, stating that there was not a severe enough level that the school should step in is ludicrous. Another child maliciously knocked another child's full tray of food on the floor than stood and enjoyed his humiliation as the rest of the kids sat there and laughed.

They had always thought the way he handled the bullying had gotten better after he decided to come out and openly admit his sexuality. When he joined the once all-girl cheerleading squad, he could now enjoy a community that adored him. (I was on a co-ed competitive cheerleading squad and you really become family. The boys on our team were all straight however they did get bullied for being gay simply because we had 13 boys on our team and they all at one point got "outed" when they weren't gay. No one on a team like that cares so Jeffrey did have a family).

Seems Jeffrey got pretty popular and actually felt welcomed but the taunts didn't disappear into think air.

What is really irritating to me as I was a cheerleader too, is that during the actual games he cheered at the kids would yell things at him from the bleachers. How disrespectful and malicious is that? Where were the security officers or administrators that supervised? At my school the kids would have been escorted out of the game. Even worse some adults even taunted him and made fun of him because he was a cheerleader, how nice, adults are bullying too.

When he graduated he went to college and didn't make many friends and stopped talking about being bullied so it was assumed that the bullying stopped after high school. It was Christmas time and he had a normal holiday with his family than took a drive to Los Angeles to see a boy he had met. Like any son or daughter he promised he would call and check in on the trip and not to worry about him, he would be okay. While gone he called his mom Patti, and let her know they broke up but he was okay because they were going to still be friends. He seem to have accepted it very well.

When he was on his way back from Granite Bay, they asked him to get their dog who had been at the kennel and then make plans with his friends because it was New Years. He didn't do them. So he was alone on the Eve of the New Year.

They called to say Happy New Year the next day and Jeffrey didn't answer his phone and than texted him later and still Patti didn't get a response. So while Jeffrey's parents were doing what they could to get in touch with their son, Jeffrey's brother decided to check his brother's facebook page. We all know how we are on the Facebook page and update our status's and even ignore our phone or someone at the door when engaged. Maybe he was playing Farmville and his crops were about to die. Jeffrey's status update simply said "New Years is stupid".

Pattie called someone to go check on her son and when they did, Shayla found Jeffrey hanging from a rope by the front door. With no note the Fehr family hasn't gotten an answer as to why he killed himself that night, and they know they never will. However, they know that bullying played a role because it damages you...he was hurting inside and that isn't so easy to just get rid of and have it go away. It can fester and be bottled up causing more damage over years and years. It doesn't matter really, except that this is yet another bully victim that just couldn't take the pain anymore.

Jeffrey Fehr's family still wonder's why he would kill himself
Jeffrey Fehr's family still wonder's why he would kill himself
Cheer For A Solution:  Bullying Prevention...CFAS dedicated their 2012*2013 cheer season to their new cause.
Cheer For A Solution: Bullying Prevention...CFAS dedicated their 2012*2013 cheer season to their new cause.

CHEERMaD: Cheer Mom's and Dad's

CheerMaD is an organization for mom's and dad's of cheerleader's mainly on All-Star teams. It was developed to support these parents.

The official website has an ongoing blog that depicts other cheerleader's that were bullied to death and "Cheer for a Cause".

Coach Erika McLaughlin and co-owner of Cheer Factor All Stars in Massachusetts, was quoted saying that the cheerleading industry has been greatly affected by the problem of bullying. A question was posed of how to bring the kids all together and have something that will unite them and Erika thought that there was no better cause than bullying prevention. Mom, Flo Sabatino was thrilled and helped the kids at CFAS dedicate their 2012*2013 season to bullying prevention. The name was played of the gym's initials of CFAS, Cheer for a solution.

The best part is the kids chose bullying as their cause themselves. They have been upset with losses of other kids to the act of bullying and wanted to spread awareness, learn how to handle these situations, talking about safety and trust is all part of what they have started to do. Cheer gyms that primarily support All-Star Competitive Teams is like home to them and some of the kids only have the gym as their family.

They demonstrate at three parades during the year and one in the summer and planned a fourth around Halloween.

The gym has a policy and set standards for this behavior in their gym and have created it a "No Bully Zone". They know that kids are nervous about how other cheerleaders will treat them and they don't want any tension and animosity and anxious kids, its supposed to be fun for them.

In their blog they wrote about Jeffrey Fehr. He had been a member of California POWER AllStar's Medium Coed Level 5 and he had been the first of a string of suicides, the ending total being 7. All this and 2012 isn't even over yet. CHEERMaD did an exclusive interview with the Fehr family and it will air in October of 2012 due to October being National Bullying Awareness Month.

Cheer Allstars Level 5 Tribute to Jeffrey Fehr

Website that recieved a message that someone admired his strength
Website that recieved a message that someone admired his strength

Jeff Impacted Other's Over Sexuality: Blog Acknowledges Jeff After His Death

When news of Jeff's death had hit mainstream media and went viral, someone that knew him heard the news. The kid had posted a blog after he found out and put it out there he doesn't know how Jeff died, and he doesn't care too but he knew Jeff was gay and that he had written an article for the Gazette about the website Formspring, the uses and abuses. He stumbled upon Jeff's profile and wasn't sure of the specifics but sent him a message. He does remember all the hate and anger that was thrown at Jeff and he was still just about blown over at the amount of tormenting he had to deal with.

In high school Jeff was the first person he ever met that had come out as gay. He didn't tell Jeff in high school, but he really admired Jeff for that. This made him think there might be hope for him. All this kid saw was that Jeff was gay, he was happy, and he had friends. The concept of all of this baffled him because Jeff contradicted everything he knew about life thus far, especially as a gay teen in Granite Bay. Pretty much because he even HAD a life. Throughout high school he said that he really didn't talk to Jeff, maybe said ten words, but he really admired him.

This kid even thought it was odd, but it impacted him in a positive way, and that was Jeff was actually NICE to him. He recalled when Jeff would buy him lollipops in first period.

The Formspring archive is a permanent fixture in his mind, and there is a reason for it. He was bi-sexual and very uncomfortable on the site because of it. He got the "knowing glances" but he never had to endure the tormenting Jeff did. He says that the torments were obsence and unrelenting and the way he is writing it seems maybe he wouldn't have been able to handle it and not coming out was a way of not having to. What stuck in his mind was that Jeff responded to those comments without animosity and this was just incredible to him.

He sent him a message through the site but didn't tell him who he was and doesn't even remember what Jeff's reply was. He said that he envied and admired Jeff and that he had the courage to live and this kid didn't. He doesn't know how he died as I said, and he doesn't know if his sexuality played a role, and this was his perspective of the young man from an outsiders perspective.

Jeff really reached someone and impacted him. He was admired, looked up to, and this kid was comforted by how Jeff seemed to be. Jeff did know before he died, but he never did get to find out who it was. When you feel such a way, you should tell the person, because you never know when they will die and you never know if you will also have touched them and maybe they wouldn't encessarily choose death. Maybe that could be enough to give them something to live for.

Resources For LGBT Teens and Bullying

1; Family Acceptance Project
The Only Community Research, Intervention, Education and Policy Initiative
San Francisco State University 3004 - 16th Street, #301 San Francisco, CA 94103
Provides support, education, advocacy and more
2: PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
National Non-Profit Organization
Phone: (202) 467-8180
Helps Families cope when a family member comes out
3: The Make It Better Project
Initiative Giving School's Tools For Safe School Environment for LGBT
San Francisco, California Provides support, education, advocacy and more
Comprehensive list of resources
4: National Bullying Prevention Center
engages and educates communities nationwide to address bullying through creative, relevant and interactive resources
Minnesota: 1.800.537.2237 or 952.838.9000 USA Toll free: 888.248.0822
PACER’s bullying prevention resources are designed to benefit all students, including students with disabilities.
Resources for LGBT and Bullying Prevention

Have you lost someone and never told them what they meant to you?

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Fellow Student Irritated Positivity Came AFTER Jeff's Death

A fellow student of Jeff, that shared a mutual friend, posted a blog after his death wanting to say something that he had on his mind. The writers screen name was thesadsadtruth and describes Jeff as a cheerleader and a really good guy. When the news of Jeff committing suicide because of the relentless torment he recieved it shocked the author that it could happen at his own school. What horrified him the most was, in the 24 after, there were hundred of people posting on Facebook. They were glowing positive messages about how Jeff will be missed, that his smile brightened people's day, describing his a great friend, and all of these wonderful messages that could life anyone out of a deep depression came 24 hours AFTER Jeff killed himself. Where were these comments when he was alive to hear them and be affected by them to counter the ones that destroyed him in the end?

Tragic is that we don't tell the people that touch our heart and lives until they are gone because they leave a hole in our heart and that is what this person realized. He hadn't even known Jeff's name until he died and that hole was there because Jeff touched him too. Further he says, and something very true, that there is always someone that isn't in our group and maybe on the fringe of our social networks at school or work that we know could really use a friend. The shining point of his blog is pointing out that instead of sending these messages a day late we should be always doing it. He is right and we could save more lives that we didn't even know we were in danger of losing because a kindness in humanity could spread like wildfire and maybe put out the dangerous bullies behavior before it starts. So his moral is tell them before they aren't here to hear you because you could save a life.

Did you know a classmate in high school who was bullied for being gay?

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The World May Not Have Known Jeff Before Death, But He Is A Shining Star in the Sky for the World Now

There are so many other posts and I am going to only share one more because this all already proves my point, that Jeff touched everyone, that he was loved and admired and cherished and no one told him because its taken for granted they know they are a good person and the bullying taunts are the only he hears. He is dying inside for a long time and unable to see on his own what he is worth to humanity.

Foryouathousandtimesover posted a blog about Jeff, another kid who hadn't known Jeff personally but he had really impacted quite a few people close to him and this kid was sad that this had to happen to Jeff at all. Instead of the typical I am sorry for your loss to the friends and families he said all he really wanted to do was say thank you to Jeff. Thanks for the joy he gave to those left behind and for the message he inadvertently left when he left this world.

The message he thinks was left behind is "cherish what you have while you have it" and to love those that you shouldn't take for granted,

The amazing amount of people Jeff touched is overwhelming even as writing it because you want to hit a rewind button and you want to get to him before he puts that rope up and you want to hit the play button on the screen you hold and let him see what he will have missed out on..all the people he had no clue he touched. That takes an amazing person to do...touch people and never know. Means he didn't do it intentionally or on purpose, he had a pure and good soul and is the exact example of what is missing in most of humanity and society today. Let's learn from this and stop hurting people to death.

"The Week of Action Movement": In Remembrance

This website promotes a Remembrance Week every year that is to remember those that lost their lives in some capacity to the anti-LGBT inability to be tolerant and to further violence. They reported that the rates of deaths and suicides for this reason are on the rise in what they term is the "progressive era." They provided a list of 105 names to honor their memory and Jeffrey Fehr is listed under the category of Yellow (Sunshine).


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