“BULLY” – Ja’Meya Jackson’s story

(this is part 2 of a week-long series about the movie “Bully,” which opens this Friday nationwide.  Part 1 is here.)


In Yazoo, Mississippi, you’ll meet Ja’Meya Jackson, age 14. Ja’Meya’s story is unique among the five young people in “Bully“; she lashes out at her bullies in a dangerous way with negative repercussions.

Her actions surprise everyone. She is a quiet, unassuming teenage girl who, for reasons  not readily apparent to me, became the target of condemnation and ridicule of everyone on the bus. Ja’Meya says:

“It feels like everybody just turned against me. Nine or ten of ’em just calling me stupid, and dumb, and they started throwing things at me. One of the guys said what he was going to do to me, and everybody would laugh, and I tell him to be quiet, and he kept talking, and that’s when I got up.”

Unfortunately for Ja’Meya, her school bus had a camera that recorded her actions and what she did was far more visual than the verbal harrassment she suffered. Ja’Meya took her mother’s handgun and brought it on the bus with her. When she finally had enough, she stood and brandished it in front of everyone. All of this is caught on camera.


 A local law enforcement official says:

“At the point she takes out the gun, that’s 22 counts of kidnapping. She has 22 counts of attempted aggravated assault. She’s got 45 total felony charges facing her. And for me, there’s nothing, no amount of bullying, or teasing, or picking on, or whatever, there’s nothing, unless someone was actually whipping on this girl every day, unless someone was hitting this young lady in the head and being physically brutal to her, there’s NOTHING to me that justifies her taking her gun on that bus, I don’t care what it is. … Even though things came out as best they possibly could have, if you added up all the years that she could get it, it would be hundreds of years.”

A thought that crossed my mind as I watched the Mississippi sheriff was, “If Ja’Meya had been ‘Jane,’ a pretty blond white girl driven the same action, would she have been arrested and incarcerated?” Perhaps. For waving a pistol around on a school bus, Jane might have been. And maybe it’s irresponsible of me to inject race into an issue where it’s not readily apparent it belongs. But the thought crossed my mind and it’s my blog.

You hear the other kids on the bus screaming as Ja’Meya brandishes her weapon as you hear the insensitivity of the sheriff; the disconnection between the problem and the awareness of the problem couldn’t be clearer. When Ja’Meya gets off the bus, the authorities are waiting for her. They handcuff her and put her in the car.

Ja’Meya’s family has a prayer meeting and we see the extension of the suffering – the cause and effect – of bullying. As Ja’Meya awaits her hearing before the judge, her relatives agonize that they didn’t do something sooner to help her. “Ja’Meya don’t mess with anybody,” a woman says. “It’s going on in our schools, it’s happening to our kids, and it’s a problem that needs to be stopped. And end needs to be put to it now. Children hurt themselves and hurt one another all the time because of bullying. ‘Cause parents don’t talk to their children about not bullying, teachers don’t do nothing about kids bullying, the board don’t do nothing, the principal don’t do nothing, nothing is done.”

At Ja’Meya’s hearing, the charges against her are dropped. The judge orders her to be hospitalized, but leaves it to the discretion of the doctors about sending her home. “You wasn’t thinking, you made a big mistake,” Ja’Meya’s mom tells her. She starts crying; she wants to go home now. But you know what a huge bullet she’s dodged. This could just as easily have gone the other way. Another judge, along the lines of the sheriff, could have given her a juvenile record.

In one of the most heartwarming scenes of the otherwise bleak film Ja’Meya comes home from the hospital. “It’s so pretty here!” she says to her mom, over and over.

Watch the trailer for “Bully” here. Parts 3 through 5 will be posted tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. “”Bully” opens this Friday in theaters nationwide.

Posted in Bullying. Tags: , . 36 Comments »

36 Responses to ““BULLY” – Ja’Meya Jackson’s story”

  1. “BULLY” – Alex’s story « Rich Merritt Says:

    […] “BULLY” – Ja’Meya Jackson’s story […]

  2. “BULLY” – Kelby’s story « Rich Merritt Says:

    […] “BULLY” – Ja’Meya Jackson’s story […]

  3. “BULLY” – Kirk and Laura Smalley « Rich Merritt Says:

    […] “BULLY” – Ja’Meya Jackson’s story […]

  4. “Bully” week recap « Rich Merritt Says:

    […] “BULLY” – Ja’Meya Jackson’s story […]

  5. Tami Green Says:

    I personally think the film was quite moving. You may have thought it bleak, I thought it beautiful. But i’m just a kid of course. One of the kids who could have done suicide in that bleak film, right?

    • Rich Merritt Says:

      I also found it moving. Bleak, yes, but also compelling. Although the subject matter depicted in the film is bleak, perhaps the film’s existence gives hope that things will begin improving. Thanks for your input.

  6. Brett Mcallister Says:

    Watching it now. It’s amazing how words can hurt and what they can do and as for that officer. I hope he got sacked. What a stupid, idiotic heartless thing to say.

  7. Mike Says:

    Just watched and I was so gobsmacked by the sheriff’s comments, that I had to see if anyone else reacted similarly. It is unfathomable to me that an adult can be so utterly clueless.

    • Denae Davis Says:

      I know exactly what you mean about the sheriff. That is all that I can say without flipping out!

    • Lucinda Says:

      This is the same reaction from every school system in the U.S.
      NO ONE wants to protect these kids.
      The school officials and the police and sherriff depts are the REAL P_SSIES!!!

  8. Yesenia Llansp Says:

    I just watched the movie with my son. It’s bad how the school (everyone from the school board and the principles) react to this situation and just make it seem like its ok. And the way that sheriff spoke up about the situation, he is very clueless I don’t know why he was even put in the movie. I’m going to just keep my comments about his dumb ass to myself, but I feel they should really show this movie in the schools so that the kids can take a look inside of what is going on and what it feels like to be bullied.

  9. Yesenia Llanos Says:

    I was typing too fast and misspelled my name Yesenia Llanos

  10. Lucinda Says:

    Jameya! We are with you sweetness!
    Your story can make a difference. Write a book and make a full length movie!!!!
    Also, find a good karate school and get your blackbelt!!!
    I can say this will be good for you because I have one.

  11. Sherri Says:

    Ja’Meya, There are MANY people out here that love you and your voice is heard. I’m sorry that your teachers, principal, bus driver, police, and neighbors have let you down. You matter. Please hang in there. Become a better person that the archaic people that have failed you. Love your mother and family. You have love out here. We love you.

  12. anyone Says:

    things will never improve. people have been talking about the bullying problem for YEARS. DECADES.[probably much longer] It has not changed.
    they focus on it as if it is a school problem, something only kids do. but adults do the same thing. they just dont see it in themselves. just like kids, the adults see their target as the one in the wrong.
    maybe its nature. people are animals, and animals target the weakest. they find a way to excuse it or justify it. the victim is seen to deserve it somehow. after all the emotional abuse, the victim may eventually do something to deserve punishment. then the bullies feel vindicated by saying it proves there was something wrong with the victim to begin with.
    i think parents have to SPECIFICALLY teach their children not to bully, and to stand up for the victim. and i think adults need to watch their own behavior as well.

  13. Rae Says:

    Je’meya, your story is inspiring. I understand how far you were pushed, and I’m so sorry this happened. You seem like such a sweet kid. I hope that you continue to persevere and that you find happiness. It is up to you to continue to educate others. You shouldn’t have to, but u should. God bless You Sweetie!!!

  14. Jaimesha Davis Says:

    My class and I are watching this in my expository reading and writing class. This film really makes you think about what you say to others and how you treat them. Whether you’re just “playing around” or looking for attention. Bullying is not the answer. All You’re doing is being a reckless human being feared by others with a negative reputation. Find another hobby that’s harmless but will give you the same satisfaction and leave people alone to continue to mind their own business, leaving yours alone.

    One thing that angered me is that principal. She has a horrible way of taking authority. First she makes the bully and the victim shake hands hoping to end all. Then she let’s the bully go to class. That is a horrible waste of a principal who might as well have been a kindergarten teacher telling kids to “don’t hit. ” I am absolutely bewildered by this principal . This goes to show that if we don’t even have the school board to protect their students, how will we even prevent bullying from occurring? Keeping in mind that most bullying occurs in school.

  15. Bob Says:

    At first I thought the Sheriff as cold. As I thought about it later I realized that he understood that other kids would watch this movie. I think he was coming at it as a public safety message; once you bring a gun into the equation it’s deadly serious & most times permanent. We got lucky with this situation. This poor, dear girl should never had been in that awful situation but she must understand, as the rest of us that guns are to defend the home and not to end bullying. I just think that cop was trying to convey the seriousness of a loaded gun on a school bus. I would have loved to see that girl work a few of those awful kids over with a bat or just punched the biggest one in the face! Lets just be happy this story had a good ending. Not too many of those these days with kids & guns. Fight back, don’t shoot back!!

    • borntosurf2@hotmail.com Says:

      How is a young girl going to fight back against what was it nine other people?
      Bullies always target someone smaller or with bigger numbers.
      Lets remember she caused no one any actual harm it was a warning to back off, the gun was never fired.
      Before grade 11 I had accidently knocked three people unconscious, one had to be rushed to the hospital. I was walking away from the bully who ran after me and attempted to drop kick me, and when i parried the kick he hit the ground so hard he was unconscious and went into a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. Ja’Meya caused far less harm or injury than i did just getting out fo the way. So no, threatening anyone wiht a gun is not the ideal solution but really HOW many options did she

  16. Kiki Duncan Says:

    My children are all grown now. They went to school with a young man who killed his bully and class mates ( Kip Kinkle ). My first reaction was how tragic, for the victims, all of them, including Kip. An example of every system failing a child.
    Personally, when the kids at school was bulling my daughter, my son who is two years younger, beat the bully up and got suspended for a week. Than day I told him violence never solves an issues, while we were at lunch at his favorite restaurant.
    The following day I approached the school district superintendent to file a formal complaint about the bully attending school and verbally abusing my child without being suspended for the assaults.
    Here in Oregon, it is illegal to threaten another person. I went to our local ALCU office to speak with an attorney about filing a law suit against the school for not protecting my child. The school had no choice but to cover their back side and take action against the bully.

  17. Shanika Grants Says:

    the school system and police some bull sh_t

  18. Griffin Says:

    Yes, what she did was wrong. But I’m with her all the way. I stopped the video to find out her fate. I was begging for the charges to be dropped, I couldn’t stand to live in a country where she would go to jail for a long time and rapists wouldn’t.

  19. Derek Warren Says:

    I recently watched the documentary “Bully.” I felt that it was a very enlightening film. I agree that the sheriff was speaking from a public safety standpoint. I am pretty sure he understood that people were going to watch this film and have critical reactions to his commentary about Ja’meya’s decision to bring a gun to school. I think he did understand that bullying was the motivator for her actions, however I agree that he should have been more sensitive because (as I said) the whole documentary was about bullying. He was trying to make a point about the consequences for making such a decision. She is very lucky that no shots were fired. If that were not the case, I don’t think she would have been cleared of her charges. I really hope that people will learn from all of the families featured in this documentary and use their stories to find more positive ways to handle their pain.

  20. Learning to Trust Again (Part 2: A Blog About Lee Hirsch’s Documentary “Bully”) | Dwarren57's Blog Says:

    […] we feel like those negative emotions are uncontrollable. I felt that when I watched the scene with Mississippi teenager Ja’meya Jackson. She was repeatedly targeted by a gang of nine boys who (judging from the video) threatened to […]

  21. George Worley Says:

    If I have had been on a jury I would have not convicted her.

  22. udemefusoro@gmail.com Says:

    i think that the yazoo county sheriff is absolutely insensitive and unfeeling. She was only an adult who wanted a little bit of respect. I am sure that if he has kids his kids are or were bullies in school. The fact that you have the audacity to say that suggests to me that he himself was probably a bully at some point in the past.

  23. Todo Says:

    I do not think Ja’Meya deserved to not be charged for what she did. She threatened kids with a gun! Yes, she was bullied, and it’s nasty how those kids called her stupid and made jokes like that, but I don’t think that’s any reason to threaten them with a gun. The man who said any amount of bullying doesn’t justify is correct. She was not assaulted/attacked or hurt by the kids. Yes, they called her names, but it’s still not okay to threaten them with a gun, even if she was bullied!

    • Anonymous Says:

      Well obviously someone was never bullied or put into a bullying state. Because when your bullied you want it to stop. Im glad she did that because she could have cut, starved, commited suicide ect. But she didnt.

      In your eyes she did something wrong…but in my eyes she was pushedpast her breaking point.

  24. takila Says:

    Are u ok don’t worry about them

  25. Anonymous Says:

    It makes me sick how the one man said “for me theres nothing, no amount of bullying or teasing or picking on or whatever, theres nothing unless someone was whipping or hitting the girl and being physically brutal to her, theres nothing justifiying her taking the gun on the bus” well actually she got to the point where she did that because kids are f-ing a-holes. I’ve been bullied for many years…until 8th grade and I know what she was feeling because it sucks! Some parents are so blind to WHO there kids really are. I was bullied to the point where I cut myself and thought of suicide almost everyday. I was told on a daily basis to “go kill yourself you fucking cunt” or “a chick so ugly as you deserves to be killed or beat until death”. THE WORSE PART IS IM NOT A LESBIAN AND I DONT HAVE A DISSABILITY! I get that you cant monitor everything a kid does but atleast do something more than a five strick penatly. My parents had to threaten to SUE THE SCHOOL for my bullying to stop. IF ANY PARENT NEEDS TO DO THIS THAN THERE IS A PROBLEM! School and the school bored do nothing to help a kid being bullied.

    Just because it isnt physical bullying it does not mean it is not a problem.

    We treat work place harassment differently than we treat bullying but its basically the SAME THING. So why does the school bored and other members treat it like a case of “kids will be kids”? It makes me sick and I think it should be mandatory for a movie/presentation to be shown in schools or a better law or punishment for bullying be put into effect because what we have in place now is a pile of Bullshit.

    Im a 10th grader in a Canadian highschool…but you know “im a kid so I overreact to everything”

  26. May Says:

    Of course that FOOL of a Sheriff’s response was racially motivated. Kidnapping? SHE WASN’T DRIVING THE BUS, Mr. KKK. I was shocked to read all those trumped up charges. A WHITE KID in Texas KILLS 4 PEOPLE driving drunk and spends ZERO DAYS IN JAIL due to “AFFLUENZA.” A Black girl waves a gun because she’s tired of being bullied and she faces 100+ years and goes to PSYCHE WARD. What ELSE would explain the disparity in treatment?

  27. May Says:

    I feel SO BAD for children today. I CANNOT imagine how horrible it must be to actually be AFRID to go to school. I have watched other shows on this subject and my heart breaks for these children. MOST of them are picked on just for being different, shy or physically vulnerable. I have to ask HOW are the bullying children being raised that they have NO EMPATHY? When I was a child, it was BAD MANNERS to stare at or pick on a disabled person. TODAY’S kids have no problem with it. I remember being in the post office and this little Hispanic child just LITERALLY STARED at me. MY parents would not have allowed me to do that. It got so bad that finally, after his mother said nothing, I KINDLY asked him if something was wrong. At that point, he smiled and stopped. The point I’m making is that PARENTS cultivate this kind of aggressive, bullying behavior by NOT correcting their children and teaching them proper behavior at A YOUNG AGE.

  28. Challenges of Addressing Bullying In Schools | Dwarren57's Blog Says:

    […] Jameya Jackson (from Yazoo, Mississippi.)  […]

  29. Chris Says:


    My name is Chrissy. I watched “Bully”, and I hope you know from the bottom of my heart that I will never forget your story. I have tears running down my face as I type this.

    Please use this experience to reveal your true personal power; to love yourself and others even though it may at times seem impossible.

    Just remember…that “sticks and stones” rhyme is the biggest lie ever told to any child.

    Darling..you are loved..even from afar..both those of us who don’t even know you.



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