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Photo taken Thursday, December 16, 2004

 


 

 


Background

Someone once told me the song Jeremy was about a student at a school I attended for a short while. I attended J.J. Pearce in Richardson, Texas, but went to Richardson High School for a few months. After hearing this several times, I searched the Internet for related stories and confirmed this to be true. To be sure, I checked the Dallas Morning News online archives and confirmed the article there and have reproduced it below.  Since publicizing this information on my site, a number of individuals who knew Jeremy have contacted me and this page has grown significantly.  The more I learn about Jeremy the more I realize just how tragic this really was.  As one kind employee of Richardson High School has told me and discussed during a four hour interview at my home recently, "Jeremy was a good kid with a mountain of problems that he didn't deserve."  That interview will be posted here in the relatively near future.  See some details and facts from our meeting toward the bottom of this page. 

To follow are the Jeremy Video, the Red Rocks, Colorado version of Jeremy (amazing), the "Bill Clinton" version of Jeremy, the interview with Pearl Jam where they first discuss what Jeremy is about, both of the news articles from the Dallas newspaper the next day, and photos of the school where Jeremy died.  This page continues to evolve at a rapid pace.  As more and more people see this page, I am being contacted and given additional information.  A link at the bottom of the page will put you on a mailing list for updates to this page if you would like to remain informed about changes here. (Your e-mail address will ONLY be used for updates to this page.)

The Idea for "Jeremy"

"Jeremy" is a song based on a true story about a student at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas, a suburb of Dallas (photos below). Eddie Vedder saw the newspaper article (that also follows) by which he was inspired to write the song. Eddie states in addition to this there was a student at his school growing up whom also played a part in the song.



Photos History: The grainy image below left is the one that has been circulating the Internet since Jeremy died in 1991.  Three days ago, nearly 14 years later, I was able to take the photo below at right, and capture the best image of Jeremy since the 1991 article.  Then on 12-16-2004, I finally obtained the image you see at the top of this page which is from his yearbook photo from the year before as he never appeared in the RHS yearbook. 

[Jeremy Wade Delle     

 

Actor from the Jeremy video

 


Richardson High School - the school where Jeremy took his life

I stopped by Richardson High School in December 2003 and snapped some photos. They were re-doing the entrance with a modern look, however this is how it has looked since being built and how it looked when Jeremy attended Richardson High School.  To see a page with more photos of the school, click on the photo below.


News Article about Jeremy - Two Articles appeared the next day, both follow

(names shown in bold have photos after article)

 

Richardson teen-ager kills
himself in front of classmates
By Bobbi Miller
Annette Nevins

Staff Writers of The Dallas Morning News

Tuesday, January 8, 1991

RICHARDSON - A Richardson High School sophomore, described as a loner who had been in counseling, fatally shot himself Tuesday in front of a classroom of about 30 students.
      Jeremy Wade Delle, 16, who had transferred from a Dallas school, died instantly after firing a .357-caliber Magnum into his mouth about 9:45 a.m. police said.
      Because he had missed class, the teacher in his second-period English class told Jeremy to get an admittance slip from the school office. Instead, he returned with the gun, police said.
      He walked directly to the front of the classroom.
      "Miss, I got what I really went for," he said, then placed the barrel in his mouth and fired, according to Sgt. Ray Pennington, a police spokesman.
      The shooting occurred before the students or teacher Fay Barnett could react, said school district spokeswoman Susan Dacus-Wilson.
      It stunned students and faculty members throughout the school at 1250 W. Belt Line Road.
      Brian Jackson, 16, said he was working the combination on his locker just outside Jeremy's English class when he heard a loud bang "like someone had just slammed a book on a desk."
      "I thought they were doing a play or something," he said. "But then I heard a scream and a blond girl came running out of the classroom and she was crying." Frightened, but curious, Brian looked into the classroom and saw Jeremy lying on the floor bleeding.
      "The teacher was standing against the wall crying and shaking," Brian said. "Some people were standing around her holding her as if to keep her from falling."
      Another student, Howard Perre Felman, an 11th-grader, was in government class when he heard the shot. At first students joked about the noise, thinking that someone was playing around, he said.
      "But then we heard a girl running down the hall screaming," he said. "It was a scream from the heart."
      Sgt. Pennington said Jeremy apparently had given some thought to his actions because he left a suicide note with a classmate. Investigators would not disclose its contents.
      Principal Jerry Bishop said Jeremy's class attendance had been sporadic. Mr. Bishop said he had met with the boy and his father to discuss the problem.
      Police said that Jeremy had been in counseling with his father, but they did not know the specifics.
      Sgt. Pennington said police did not know where the youth got the gun and had no clue why he would kill himself in a crowded classroom.
      The classmates who witnessed the shooting were immediately ushered to a secluded room for counseling.
      About 30 members of the school district's volunteer crisis team arrived to counsel students.
      Classes continued throughout the day. Some students were allowed to leave early, but counselors encouraged them to stay at school and discuss their feelings.
 

      Lisa Moore, 16, said she knew Jeremy from the in-school suspension program.
      "He and I would pass notes back and forth and he would talk about life and stuff," she said.
      She said Jeremy wanted to discuss the boy she was dating and also mentioned that he was having trouble with one of his teachers. He signed all of his notes, "Write back." But on Monday he wrote, "Later days."
      "I didn't know what to make of it," she said. "But I never thought this would happen."
      However, Sean Forrester, 17, remembered Jeremy as friendly with no outward signs of turmoil.
      "He never looked like he had anything wrong with him. He always made a joke over everything," Sean said.
      Jeremy was the son of Joseph R. Delle of Richardson, with whom he lived, and Wanda Crane. The couple divorced in 1979, according to Dallas County court records.
      Mr. Delle could not be reached for comment. Ms. Crane, through a spokesman, declined to comment.
      Tuesday's shooting was the first known teen suicide in a Richardson school. It was the first by a Richardson student since 1988, when student suicides prompted the creation of the crisis intervention program in May that year.
      Three Richardson students committed suicide during the first half of 1988. They included a sixth-grader and two sophomores at J. J. Pearce High School. One of the sophomores hanged himself from a tree behind Mohawk Elementary School during a weekend.
      In 1985, a 17-year-old Arlington student shot himself in front of four fellow students in the drama classroom at Arlington High School.
      Earlier, and outbreak of teen suicides in Plano, where eight youths killed themselves in 1983 and 1984, helped focus national attention on the plight of suicidal teen-agers.
      Students and counselors agreed that the shock of Jeremy's public demise would have a lingering effect on the Richardson students, particularly the witnesses.
      "They are going to go through a ton of sadness, anxiety and fear," said Sheryl Pender, a counselor with Willow Park Hospital in Plano and former director of the Suicide and Crisis Center in Dallas.
Staff writer Jeffrey Weiss contributed to this report.

 

The second article in the Dallas Morning News that day:

 

Thumbnail of actual article, recreated below, click for enlargement: 

Crisis teams respond quickly to teen’s suicide

By Annette Nevins

Staff Write for the Dallas Morning News

RICHARDSON-  A new peer counseling group at Richardson High School went to the aid of classmates Tuesday when a student killed himself during an English class.

It was the first big challenge for the 20-member group, which was specially trained last spring to help fellow students handle crisis situations.  The team was one of several counseling groups that began work within minutes after school district administrators learned of the suicide. 

Danny Glick, vice president of the peer counseling group, was among those who went to the classroom after sophomore Jeremy Wade Delle shot himself.

To his surprise, the room was not filled with hysteria. “It was catatonic.  No emotion,” he said.

Danny, 17, talked with one boy who had seen the shooting from the front row of the classroom.  He couldn’t tell me how he felt,” he said.  “He just kept telling me in detail what happened.  Over and over.”

Danny said some of the students he talked with knew that Jeremy had problems and expressed regret that they had not approached him. 

“Everybody I talked to said the ultimate same thing:  They wish they could have said something to him before he did it,” he said.  (SS Note - would have been difficult with Jeremy locked away in ISS for a month or two, where you are not allowed to talk to other students - similar to solitary.)

Pat Olney, director of a separate Crisis Intervention Team, said peer counseling is a valuable tool because students usually talk more freely with other students.

The district’s intervention team, which was formed just two years ago in the aftermath of other student suicides, includes psychologists, counselors, principals, the superintendent and other administrators.  Also on the scene Tuesday was a campus-based intervention team of administrators.

“The first thing we have to do is to help the students acknowledge their feelings about what they just experienced,” Ms. Olney said.

“Adolescents  are more fragile, and it’s often more difficult for them to deal with something like this,” she said.  “Their feelings range from fear and terror and sorrow to anger that it happened, and anger that it happened at school.”

Shortly after Tuesday’s shooting, she said, the crisis teams met as a group with the students and teacher who witnessed the shooting and offered individual counseling.

The team notified the students’ parents and wrote a note to each of the school’s teachers with information about the incident.  Another memo was sent to each classroom to be read to the students. 

The crisis teams plan to remain on campus for as long as needed. Ms. Olney said. Another community crisis team made up of doctors, police officers and clergy has been alerted and is standing by to help if needed, she said.

Teen suicides are increasing across the country, Ms. Olney said.  Many school districts have formed similar intervention teams.

In Richardson, a committee of parents, students, board members, medical professionals and community leaders began work in 1988 to form the district’s crisis-team following at least three student suicides.

The Plano school district also set up intervention programs when seven teen-agers killed themselves during the 1983-84 school year.  (SS Note – Plano is due north of RHS.)

But suicide intervention does not come without criticism.  Recently, Columbia University researchers wrote in a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association that teen suicide prevention programs in schools actually may stir up depressed feelings rather than help youths who have tried to kill themselves.

Ms. Olney, who knows of the report, said that study refers to one-time lectures on suicide and not the ongoing intervention programs such as Richardson’s, which involves follow-up visits and student monitoring.

A photo of two students appeared with this article with the subheading: “Richardson High School students Chris Ray and Tim Cullum talk about sophomore Jeremy Wade Delle.”  (Unfortunately the quality of the photo was too poor to reproduce for this page.)

Staff writer Jeffery Weiss contributed to this report.


Richardson High School Yearbook Photos (including photos of those from the above article)

Jeremy's photo is not in the yearbook, as he committed suicide before the year book was produced. He is not even mentioned in the "those not pictured for the year" section, however, the following two items are present in the RHS 1991 yearbook.  It was nice that Brandy, Melanie and someone else remembered Jeremy with the following memorials.  Shown below are his teacher, principal and several of the students who spoke in the news article.

    

Jeremy's Teacher in his English class where he committed suicide, and his school principal.  Jerry Bishop was the head principal I believe, but Joe Roseborough was the principal responsible for Jeremy.   I met Joe Roseborough in 1989 and only found out at the first of 2005 that he was Jeremy's principal at RHS.  I had produced an innovative catalog addressing multimedia educational materials for drug prevention, suicide prevention and other teen issues and Jose Roseborough had come to my office to discuss promoting the catalog during his talks at other schools. 

Students who spoke in the news article above:

 

Lisa Moore and Sean Forrester, above, and Howard Fellman, below:

As shown below, Jeremy was not listed in the "Sophomores not pictured" section:

 

UPDATE November 2004: NEW INFORMATION SENT IN - SEE THE FOLLOWING:

The following was posted to my website a few weeks ago.  I've contacted the person who left the message and we have tentatively agreed to meet and discuss Jeremy's situation.  They will be able to shed some tremendous insight into Jeremy and his situation.  Here are her comments left on my site: 

Comments

I was a key employee at Richardson High School when Jeremy committed suicide. I was one of the last adults that talked to him besides Faye Barnett. Some of the incidents you have from your research and some small ones (from the article) deviate from the truth. I would be happy to talk with you if you're interested. This was such a tragedy. Jeremy was a good kid with a mountain of problems that he didn't deserve.  If you want to talk e-mail me and then I will give you my address and phone #. Thanks. This is a wonderful site to go with an excellent song of awareness.

Our first meeting was held Monday, December 13, 2004; information from that interview will be posted as soon as possible.  If you would like to be put on a mailing list for updates to this page, use the Information Request button at the bottom of the page.  Your e-mail will only be used for notification about changes to this page.

INFORMATION UPDATE

I've been alluding to an interview being posted here.  My main goal was to get the photo of Jeremy updated.  That went really well and would not have been possible without my contact from RHS.  The other addition will be the interview with this former employee of Richardson High School who spoke with Jeremy that day.  I had the opportunity to meet with both this person and a close friend of theirs here at my place.  We talked for over 4 hours and a recording was made of the interview.  The information has to be edited but will be presented here as soon as possible.  Converting 4 hours of tape into text is going to take some time plus editing but will be done.  In the meantime, in the next week I will post some of the key information that came from this meeting.  Once you understand better how Jeremy came to be in front of his classmates in that classroom that day you will see how painful and unnecessary this tragedy was.  It was a classic example of flying through the cracks in society, especially at that time.   Bear with me - I am loaded down on some projects at this moment but will expedite as quickly as possible.  In the mean time, mourn the loss of Jeremy.  From everything I have gathered thus far, Jeremy was a very innocent kid.  He had some problems while at his previous school and was sent to a psychiatric hospital.  When the insurance money ran out he was suddenly "cured" and was released.  He went to live with his Dad and his new stepmom and transferred to Richardson High School as a result.  A very short time after arriving at RHS his locker was searched and some items that were not illegal but considered controversial were found in his locker and he was put in ISS (In School Suspension).  Imagine getting out of a hospital under those conditions and going to a new school, a new start, only to be thrown into ISS shortly after arriving.  You'd be hoping for a fresh start and immediately you are placed in ISS and basically labeled a degenerate.  The last place Jeremy needed to be was isolation but that was where he was put, and he was placed in there for a period of time longer than many, many students.  The faculty put him in ISS because of the locker search and I believe the fact he had come out of a psychiatric hospital.  There was also one other reason that I will cover later.  It was a convenient way to keep him away from the students.  Many students stated in the articles below they wish they could have talked to Jeremy before this event, but they couldn't because no one had access to him.  Someone coming from a psychiatric hospital and into a new school would have really benefited from interaction with other students.  Those of you who have ever transferred to a new school can understand how important communication would have been for Jeremy.  Also, my trip to Jeremy's old school and the fact I attended Richardson High School made me realize that Jeremy came from a more impoverished area than the one he ended up at.  So I am sure Jeremy felt some insecurity over his new school and being with "the rich kids."  Coming out of a psych hospital to a new school where a lot of kids got new cars for graduation would have left Jeremy very vulnerable.  The more I discover about this the more tragic it was.  Also, in Texas for sure and probably nationwide, if you had insurance and saw a mental health doctor, there was a tremendous push to get that person into a hospital environment, and as soon as your insurance ran out you were labeled cured.  It was atrocious.  There were instances of 3 year old children being hospitalized for depression it got so bad in Texas. 

 

NOTE: Clarification in the article.  Lisa Moore states on Monday Jeremy wrote a note to her stating "Later Days."  Jeremy took his life on Tuesday.  He didn't miss class the day before, he was assigned to the in the in-school suspension program at school and was supposed to be there when he appeared in Faye Barnett's classroom and Faye knew he was supposed to be in the in-school suspension (ISS) cave and should not have been there in her room that day.  She was telling him he needed a note to even be in her room at all.  I say cave because if you knew how the R.I.S.D. handled ISS students, they were put in a room (at Pearce in my case), 10 people maximum when I was there, and it was about the equivalent of a large storage room or closet.  No talking, no resting your head on the desk, you had to be constantly occupied.  It was monotonous.  I spent some time there and it was very disturbing - someone who was HDD would go nuts.  Because you are not allowed to talk to others in the room, it is sort of what it would be like in solitary confinement in a sense.  I mention all of this because Jeremy was put in ISS shortly after transferring to RHS mid-year after his locker was searched, and had been in ISS for over  a month when he walked into Faye Barnett's classroom.   Anyhow, this and a lot of information will follow as soon as possible.  SS


Jeremy Video

(This video is about 20mb in size, better if you have fast internet.)

Play this video in your Windows Media Player for better viewing by clicking: Jeremy

Future Updates to this site

Along with the photos, several other updates will occur here in upcoming weeks.  An interview with an employee of Richardson High School who was one of the last adults to speak with Jeremy will answer many questions and shed new light on Jeremy's situation.  Already some amazing information has come forth, including the fact that a young woman in Jeremy's class was walking behind him, between the blackboard and him when he fired and was nearly killed herself. 


Jeremy Song Lyrics

At home, drawing pictures of mountain tops with him on top
Lemin yellow sun, arms raised in a V
And the dead lay in pools of maroon below
Daddy didn't give attention
Oh, to the fact that mommy didn't care
King Jeremy the wicked...oh, ruled his world...
Jeremy spoke in class today... 2x

Clearly I remember pickin´on the boy
Seemed a harmless little fuck
Ooh, but we unleashed the lion...
Gnashed his teeth and bit the recess lady's breast...
How can I forget?
And he hit me with a surprise left
My jaw left hurtin´...ooh, dropped wide open
Just like the day...oh, like the day I heard

Daddy didn't give affection, no...
And the boy was something that mommy wouldn't wear
King Jeremy the wicked...oh, ruled his world
Jeremy spoke in class today... 3x
Woo ... 14x
Try to forget this ...try to forget this...
Try to erase this ...try to erase this...
From the blackboard...

Jeremy spoke in class today...
Jeremy spoke in, spoke in ...
Jeremy spoke in class today...


Interview Where Eddie Vedder Discusses the Song Jeremy and its meaning for the First Time

This quote was taken from the Synergy's Echoes page ( December, 1991 Houston, Texas, KLOL FM Echoes of Exposure with David Sadof ) 

David Sadof: While Pearl Jam songs often deal with real-life occurrences, they manage to leave the songs open to the interpretation of their audience. Eddie Vedder explains this and talks about the song, Jeremy. 

Eddie: Actually, you know, I've kept a lot of songs or some of the lyrical content shrouded in mystery because just like the name we were mentioning before, it's been really great to get other people's interpretations and even inject themselves into the songs. That, to me, has been really fulfilling and then it becomes something bigger than just five guys in a band and this is their song. It allows somebody who's listening to it or has the need to listen to something intensely.. it allows them to be part of it...but I think, Jeremy, I decided I will start talking about what that song is about and actually, there's a place, a town called Richardson? There's a town called Richardson, is there? 

David Sadof: In Texas? Yeah, not far from here. 

Eddie: That's where it happened. It was in Richardson, Texas. I saw a small paragraph in the paper about a kid named, his first name was Jeremy and he took, he shot himself in the front of his English class. I think I'm going to have to go visit Richardson. I think we have some time...a day off in Dallas? 

Stone: We have a couple days off. 

Eddie: Yeah, it was Richardson High School, I think was the name. 

David Sadof: That wasn't that long ago, was it? 

Eddie: No, I wrote, I mean I literally wrote the song that night, I think...I don't know that much. I actually even thought about... I'm really divulging a lot here... and I should explain it...the fact that I thought of even calling up and finding out more, like I wonder why that happened? I wonder why he did it and it seemed like Richardson sounded to me like a decent suburb, middle if not upper class. The fact is, I didn't want to. I thought that was intruding completely and so... I actually knew somebody in junior high school, in San Diego, California, that did the same thing, just about, didn't take his life but ended up shooting up an oceanography room. I remember being in the halls and hearing it and I had actually had altercations with this kid in the past. I was kind of a rebellious fifth-grader and I think we got in fights and stuff. So it's a bit about this kid named Jeremy and it's also a bit about a kid named Brian that I knew and I don't know...the song, I think it says a lot. I think it goes somewhere...and a lot of people interpret it different ways and it's just been recently that I've been talking about the true meaning behind it and I hope no one's offended and believe me, I think of Jeremy when I sing it. "

Update: The following entry by David Sadof was placed in my guestbook a few weeks after posting the above article:

Date: Sunday, July 25, 2004
Time: 06:19:34

Comments

Hi, I'm David Sadof (there's actually only one "f", but I don't really mind the misspelling) the DJ who conducted the interview with Eddie and Stone that is included in your site (above). I came across your site and just wanted to say hello. I am a little amazed that something that came up in one of my interviews has been transcribed so many times on the internet and, as it turns out, really was the first time Eddie spoke out about it. Anyway, it's a very good website you have here. Take care.

David- thanks for stopping by and for the kind words.  I believe both your visit here along with the multitude of others that have visited this page attests to the amazing impact this song has had world wide.  I am thankful that Eddie saw the article that day.  My goal right now is to find a better photo of Jeremy, as I hate to see the grainy photo of him shown above which does not do him justice.  The fact that Jeremy committed this harm to himself and Pearl Jam made sure the world knew both Jeremy's story and his pain has, I believe, possibly helped others to deal with their own demons and the threat of taking potentially similar paths. 

"Suicide: a permanent solution to a temporary situation!"

For anyone who is depressed and needs to talk to someone, call 1-800-784-2433.  They can help.


ABOUT THE PEARL JAM ALBUM 10  (Eddie Vedder comments in bold)

 

Pearl Jam - Ten (Sony Hardplace Classics)
By Ian Dooley

The band's debut album was named after the shirt number of New Jersey Nets star Mookie Blaylock. Its phenomenal ten-million sales in the US were undoubtedly aided by the band's insistence that no singles should be released from the set. Ten's best known track is Jeremy, which tells the story of 16-year-old Jeremy Wade Delle from Richardaville, Texas (Author of article off on the City Name "Richardson"). Baited by his peers, he took out a gun and shot himself during an English class. "That kind of thing probably happens once a week in American schools," claimed vocalist Eddie Vedder, "It's a pointer to America's fascination, no make that perversion, with guns."

Although some critics accused Pearl Jam of cashing in on the tragedy, Vedder's concerns seemed genuine. He said: "I frighten myself to relating to it so much. It's as if he was saying 'I'm going down and it isn't my fault and I haven't done anything wrong, so if I am out of here I'm taking a few people with me." The accompanying promo for Jeremy won the Readers' Picks plaudit in Rolling Stone magazine, and no less than four categories at the Tenth Annual MTV awards. Vedder has always believed that the video destroyed his vision of the song and the band refused to play it at the MTV Awards ceremony. But Vedder reputedly did tell an astonished crowd: "If it wasn't for the music, I would have shot myself."

For their next album, Vs, Pearl Jam again refused to release any singles cuts and this time also said they would make no videos. Despite refusing to play the publicity game, it sold 950,000 copies in the US in the first week of its release - at the time, the highest figure in music history.


Audio Files—

Jeremy (incredible version) from 6/20/95 at Red Rocks, Morrison, Colorado. Amazing version of song!

Play This Song in Your Media Player Now Instead of Above Control

(this will allow you to continue to surf the net and still listen)

 

Full High-Quality Version Download (6 mb file but excellent quality)


Bill Clinton Version of Jeremy!

A short improv, based on the "new" Jeremy was brought into play at the 8/17/98 Deer Creek show when Ed sang the lyrics, "President spoke in, court today" to the tune of "Jeremy". (Ex-President Clinton testified in court that day regarding the Monica Lewinsky scandal which nearly led to his impeachment.)

(Use the play button below to hear this special version. If the version above is still playing, press the stop button on it and then start this one with the play button.

Play This Song in Your Media Player Now


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Really interesting information about the death of Kurt Cobain.

See my Kurt Cobain Page for information regarding his death - suicide or murder?


For anyone who is depressed and needs to talk to someone, call 1-800-784-2433.  They can help.

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