Thursday, December 16, 2010

Anti-LGBT Bullying: Are Venango County School Districts Doing Enough?

from the ACLU:

Stop Anti-Gay Bullying: Seth's Story

When Seth was in the fifth grade, other students started calling him "gay." As he got older, the harassment became more frequent and severe. By seventh grade, taunts and verbal abuse were a constant occurrence. Students regularly called him "fag" and "queer." He was afraid to use the restroom or be in the boy's locker room before gym class. Seth's mother and close friends report that teachers and school administrators were aware that Seth was being harassed and, in some instances, participated in the harassment. One teacher allegedly called Seth "fruity" in front of an entire class.

Wendy's pleas to the school for help were often brushed aside. Seth had always been a good student, receiving A's and B's, but his grades quickly dropped to failing as the harassment continued. Friends reported that he became depressed and withdrawn. A note Seth left upon his death expresses love for his family and close friends, and anger at the school "for bringing you this sorrow."

Seth died on September 28, 2010, after nine days on life support.

On December 16, 2010, the ACLU sent a letter to Tehachapi Unified School District officials urging them to take immediate and affirmative steps to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. The U.S. Department of Education is also investigating the district.

TELL CONGRESS TO Protect LGBT Students From Harassment and Discrimination

U.S. Department of Education Letter to Schools Outlining Legal Responsibility to Address Bullying and Harassment

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