Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oh No, It's Not A Problem At All

This is for those people who think bullying isn't an issue, and for those teachers who do nothing, and for those students who videotape a beating and do nothing.

A student, whose name is being withheld, at Union-Scioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio was brutally beaten this week by another student simply for being gay.

That's bad, no? But what's worse is that other classmates sat idly by, either doing nothing, or whipping out their handy cellphones so they can film the beating to post as a trophy on their Facebook wall.

The bully, who name is also being withheld, until, I hope, he is arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, stood waiting for the gay student to enter the classroom. The the bully grabbed him, pushed him to the ground and punched him in the face several times.

And this wasn't the first time. The bully had harassed the gay student on Facebook a few days earlier, writing, as the comment on a photo of him: "You fag. Check out the definition of a fag."

This young gay man, who did nothing, who, in fact, tried to walk away from the fight, has suffered a possible concussion and dental damage. His attacker was suspended from school for just three days.

Three days. For harassing, taunting teasing, then lying in wait and physically assaulting another human being simply for being gay. That young man, that bully, needs to be prosecuted for a Hate Crime, and those students who filmed the attack, who did nothing but giggle, and who then posted the footage on Facebook, should be held accountable, too.

This seriously has to stop. Equality Ohio notes that "Union-Scioto has no policy in place that specifically protects students from being bullied or attacked based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Union-Scioto Local School District does have a policy that prohibits harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, among others, but it does not specifically protect against harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

Basically, there is no problem with beating up a gay kid, is what they're saying.

Worse yet is that, according again to Equality Ohio, while an anti-bullying bill is pending in Ohio's legislature, that would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and other enumerated protections to Ohio’s anti-bullying law, the bill has not been a priority of the committee.

Students did nothing to help this young man being beaten for being gay.
The school ad the school, district have done nothing to protect him while at school.
And the state of Ohio does nothing to protect gay kids at all.

Does this sound right to anyone?

via Towleroad


froggy said...

The parents need to button hole the school board. Being elected officials they have a lot to lose. Town next door decided to ban *all* clubs to keep a LBGT club from forming. Took two weeks, until the next meeting, to turn it around. The paper stepped in with an editorial, letters written to the paper and the board, parents complaining and the policy was reversed. We did the same thing with a book banning issue. SPEAK UP PARENTS AND MEDIA.

Kyle said...

Excellent post Bob.

I like what Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition has to say about bullying:

Bullying and violence have no place in our schools. When our children are the targets as a result of their orientation, perceived orientation, gender identity or gender expression, it is critical that there are adults they can turn to. It is imperative that their allies be visible so that they won't have to be invisible. This is our responsibility to not only our black LGBT youth but every child.

It is going to take a village to change the culture of bullying. As adults, we have an obligation to help young people "own their power." If they are bullied or witness their friends being harassed, they should feel empowered to speak up and speak out. That's where we come in.

We must engage our children in open and honest dialogue around anti-gay violence and rhetoric and bring LGBT-inclusive books, movies, and conversations into the home. Start a Gay-Straight Alliance with your son or daughter if they don't already have one. And if there is one, you can volunteer, whether your child is gay or not. Being a silent spectator is not an option. It is about building community and letting our children know that we care.

Tiger Chanter said...

This poor kid's parents need to lawyer up. Assault and Battery is still a crime and they can probably take the bully, and his parents for that matter, to court on civil charges if not criminal charges.

S'A said...

It happened to the son of a friend of mine. Her 17 year-old son was beat up by a couple of other kids while other kids stood and watched. He was hurt bad enough to be hospitalized. He suffered horrible depression for the next year, often wondering aloud why no one stopped it. He hung himself. I've often wondered if those kids ever felt any guilt over his death.

tamayn said...

His mother is already starting legal proceedings, and I applaud her for it. The problem is that Ohio has major urban centers, like the three C's (Cleveland Columbus and Cincinnati), Toledo, Dayton, and Akron/Canton/Kent, but between those places is open farmland. The people just don't know what's going on, and still think that being gay is wrong, which is to say nothing of people who actually live in the cities.

It's like when people watch Glee and think it's so great, but the simple fact is Kurt couldn't make it through high school at Allen East or Lima Bath. There is no Dalton Academy. His only real choice would be Lima Central Catholic, and that wouldn't do him any good really. It pisses me off that they're not showing the truth in Lima and across all of Ohio.

I've repeatedly written to my district representative, which includes Lima, and it's always the same response. He doesn't support adding special protections, he doesn't support protecting people from violence. He believes being gay is at best a choice and at worse, a mental illness. Until we get people like him and Kasich out of office, there is next to no hope for actual discussion in politics. The best thing you can do is support the rally that will be happening on the 5th of November for marriage equality in Cincinnati.