Bullying: Hate Crime?

They can strike with devastating effect. Targeting children relentlessly, absent of any fear of being caught or charged and sometimes - far too often it seems their young victims suffer long term harm or even death. Suicide. But because they are Children victimizing other Children, Bullies seem to get away with it. Today, after a flurry of news stories about young people who are believed to have taken their own lives .. after being bullied, we're asking about the wisdom of turning it into a Hate Crime.

Part One of The Current


It's Thursday, September 29th.

The United States says it is "deeply disappointed" by Israel's approval of 1,100 new Jewish settlement homes in East Jerusalem.

Just not disappointed enough to veto it.

This is The Current.

Bullying: Hate Crime?

We started this segment with a clip from Lady Gaga dedicating a performance to a 14 -year-old fan. Jamey Rodemeyer was found dead outside his Buffalo, New York home on September 18th. He had killed himself. The teen had been teased for hanging around with girls since grade school, but told his parents things had improved since he began high school. As late as May, he even posted an 'It Gets Better" video on YouTube in support of other victims of bullying. But apparently, it really didn't get any better for Jamey.

Lady Gaga says she was victimised in school and wants U.S. politicians to make bullying a hate crime. This past Sunday at a fundraiser in California, the singer made a special plea to U.S. President Barack Obama.

Here in Canada, Conservative MP Mike Allen has spoken out in favour of making bullying a crime. A string of recent teen suicides - on both sides of the border - has everyone, it seems, grasping for answers.

Eleven year old Mitchell Wilson of Pickering, Ontario suffered from muscular dystrophy, and his parents say he took his life earlier this month after being brutally attacked by a bully in November. Mitchell's alleged attacker, a 12-year-old boy, is now on trial for burglary and assault.

Well, Daniel Sebben has deep insight into how humiliating and degrading it is to be a target. He's a 20-year-old college student who endured -- but survived -- bullying throughout high school. We aired a clip.

Would making bullying a crime have prevented what happened to Daniel and Jayme Rodemeyer? Lady Gaga things so. And so does Daniel's mother, Karen Sebben. She is the co-founder of the York Region Anti-Bully Coalition and she was in Newmarket, Ontario.

Wendy Craig is a professor of psychology at Queen's University, where she heads The Bully Lab. She's also Scientific Co-Director of Prev-Net, a national group that runs programs to stop bullying. She was in Kingston, Ontario.

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