La Grande, OR father says he accepted gay son, hopes his death will 'stand for something'
The father of a gay La Grande teenager who died Sunday, two weeks after hanging himself in a schoolyard, told about 200 people Wednesday that he had loved his son and accepted him for who he was. "I think we need more of that," said Joe Bell, whose 15-year-old son, Jadin, had been bullied before trying to take his life. "I don't want Jadin's death to be in vain," Bell said in a voice choking with emotion. "I want it to stand for something. I think we need to look at people for who they are and not who we think they should be." His comments broke the family's silence in the aftermath of the La Grande High School cheerleader's death. He spoke at an evening assembly at Eastern Oregon University to launch a nonprofit foundation against bullying called Faces for Change. It's being created by family friends Bud Hill, Heather Martin and Jayne Baremore, all of La Grande.