I’ve already had my say on Alec Baldwin, but I watched this week as Anderson Cooper discussed the situation, and one quote, which echoes a sentiment in my blog post [see it HERE] stuck with me:
"If Alec Baldwin had yelled the N word to that photographer or yelled an anti-Jewish slur against that photographer, it would be over. But the F word is a word that kids are called in school every single day. Teachers often do nothing about it."—Anderson Cooper
One of those kids was an English kid, Ayden Keenan-Olson, just 14-years-old, who took his own life by swallowing an overdose of prescription pills. He left two suicide notes saying how he could no longer cope with the homophobic and racist bullying he experienced at school.
Ayden had come out to his parents just three months before his death, and his mother, Shy Keenan, said that after that he was a different boy; free to tell people he was gay:
“He said he was gay and had found somebody he thought he loved but it was not reciprocated. We didn't care, we just loved him whatever.”
Sadly, Shy Keenan works as a child abuse campaigner, and says her job was to protect kids from online bullying but she “could not keep my own son safe.”
All sad, all sad, but the anger in me kicks in when I found out that that Robert James, acting head teacher at Philip Morant School, recalled that Ayden had reported twenty incidents of bullying since joining the school in 2010.
Twenty times that young boy asked for help; twenty times he said he was being bullied and harassed and called names.
Twenty times, and yet all James says now is that, “As a school, our first priority is to make sure our students are safe.”
I think you failed, Mr. James; you failed twenty times and one young boy is dead as a result.
But how can we expect the children to stop the bullying when they see it on TV; when the celebrities they admire use those derogatory terms as a weapon. We’re teaching the next generation to bully because we let the adults get away with it.
And when they get away with it, young boys like Ayden Keenan-Olson lose their chance at a future.
As an aside:
It's ironic, these posts today. I get such a feeling of, well, pride, when someone comes out because I think it makes the world a better place for all of us. And I think that these young kids, gay and straight, seeing someone come out, makes it all the more, well, normal, I guess.
But then we still aren't treated normally in many places by many people.
We can't visit our loved ones in the hospital if they have homophobic relatives and we can't even grow up to be adults if we are surrounded by bullies who taunt us endlessly.
So, while we got a wee step forward today with Andrew Scott coming out, we took a couple of steps back with Sarah Bray being kept from her partner and with Ayden Keenan-Olson losing his battle with the bullies.