LGBT Suicides & Bullying

You know, the older I get, the more I fucking hate my fellow grown-ups:

The Anoka-Hennpin school district is Minnesota’s largest, serving
upwards of 40,000 students. At that size, you would think the school
board would want to do anything it could to make sure that all 40K are
treated with dignity, respect, and given a safe place to learn.

But
there’s a disturbing pattern in the Anoka-Hennepin school district of
ignoring the safety concerns and threats that LGBT students face. A
year ago, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights issued a blistering
investigation into a case of two teachers in the district, who harassed
a student because he was gay. In the wake of that incident, activists
pleaded with the school district to enact an anti-bullying curriculum
that dealt with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The school board didn’t listen.

Now,
one year later, and with three suicides by gay students under its belt,
the Anoka-Hennepin School Board is again being pressured to take a
tougher stand on bullying, and to rebuff efforts like those made by
Focus on the Family, which see anti-bullying programs as nothing short
of indoctrinating kids with homosexuality. These anti-gay activists
fight anti-bullying programs tooth and nail. And the result is a toxic
climate for LGBT students, and one that leads to violence and suicide.

Justin’s
mother Tammy puts a somber punctuation mark on the Anoka-Hennepin
School Board’s ambivalence toward LGBT bullying and LGBT suicide.

“Do
you think my son Justin deserved to die because there are other kids
who feel superior by picking on him and no staff member will stop them?”

Yeah, probably, some of them, that’s exactly what they think. The older I get, the more I realize most people don’t actually grow up. We’re all just walking around faking it with varying degrees of success, and inside most of us are still in high school, basically feral, frightened all the time and figuring we can either continue the stuff we did back when we were first learning how to interact with others, or continue the stuff that was done to us.

A.

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8 thoughts on “LGBT Suicides & Bullying

  1. Spocko says:

    I head someone say the other day that “nobody thinks that they are evil.”
    I think about the parents of the highschool. Let’s say they are Christians and they see footage of their child being a bully. Verbably or physically hurting a gay lesbian bi-sexual or trangender person. You bring in the kid the bully and the parents of both.
    And you ask them what is going on? Are you evil? They will have a reason for their attack. Will the Christian parent say, well I don’t like the methods, but homosexuals are wrong. Love the sinner hate the sin. And they let the other parents hear that. .
    I’ve been watching Friday Nigh lights and it addresses some of the big issues like abortion. But I would like to see them deal with gays and bullying.

  2. Spocko says:

    You know we sometimes see show were people talk about how they were bullied in high school. I’d like to see stories about the people who were bullies in high school. And I want to know if they went on to be bully bosses and spouses. Did they become conservatives? Did they grow up and stop bullying?
    What if you as an adult tracked down the bullies and interviewed them. For example I know George W.Bush was a bully Ito his siblings and he was a bully in high school. It comes out in the books about him. We know he bullied people and countries in the White House.

  3. MapleStreet says:

    Well put A & Spocko,
    I havew a couple of guesses:
    If the **Teachers** are bullying the gay students because they are gay, the students probably figure it is open season.
    As a lot of behavior is learned at home, a lot of bullies do so with the skills they learned from their parents. Show the parents a tape of their children bullying others, and the reasons the kids give for the bullying probably sound OK to the parents.

  4. spocko says:

    MapleStreet. Quite possible. The reason I wanted the video tape and both sets of parents there with the kids would be to get down to what this is really about. I doubt that bully parents would admit that their kids are bullying because they encourage it. They will be forced by the situation to say, “We aren’t like that. We say not to do that.” It’s kind of like calling people out for saying the N word publicly. Sure it might go underground, but it is important to at least acknowledge if when it is public.
    I’ve read a bunch of stuff about bullies and some programs in the UK. One thing that they say not to do is ignore it. My idea of using video of the event is what might make it different.
    If I was a tech kid getting bullied I would find out where the schools surveillance cameras were and get my bullying done under them. I didn’t rat anyone out, I just happened to be under the camera when they did their usual. Then an anonymous tip would lead the school admin to find out about it.
    I got this idea from “The Wire” where they couldn’t get “taxpayers” to rat out the drug dealers so they cops needed to get wire taps.
    We live in a surveillance society, I don’t like it, but I will use that reality to my advantage if possible.
    The reason I want to know about the minds of the bullies is because I wonder if it would reveal enough for me to get over their bullying. Like if I found out that they are jealous, that they have low self esteem and lashing out how they feel they can ‘one up” others. I’m also very interested in Girl Bullies since I suspect one of my nieces is one.

  5. Sandman says:

    Other people who claim to be Christians often make me embarrassed to call myself a Christian. If non-believers think that hatred and violence against anyone, including homosexuals, is a requirement to be a Christian, I would tell them that their souls are safer remaining curiously agnostic than to mixed up in the religiosity of 21st Century American Christianism that has corrupted “love your neighbor as yourself” into “God hates everyone who doesn’t look like me.” Jesus wept.

  6. HeWahineMahu says:

    Spocko. Here is a link to a Talk of the Nation segment from last spring where bullies talk about themselves and their experience. You might find this of interest. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125065190

  7. ...now I try to be amused says:

    A, I’m about 20 years older than you and Iknow that not many of us get very far from high school.

  8. Geeno says:

    Spocko, the depressing truth is that bullies keep on bullying. Even if it doesn’t work for them and they end up cast out and unemployed cuz they cant get along with co-workers. That any of people’s problems with them could be their fault is rejected by them out of hand. They don’t see themselves as bullying; they’re just doing to you what you would do to them if the situations were reversed, and nothing you can say can convince them otherwise.

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