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Mother of gay suicide teen pleads for anti-bullying action

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  1. Patrick-0-01 17 Dec 2010, 12:37pm

    That video was sad.

  2. I seriously think that only legal action would spur them to do something. There’s no point in trying to get them to act on conscience or because they want to protect vulnerable young people, but if they are scared of losing money in law suits perhaps they will actually tackle homophobic bullying. I think the mum should sue for the sake of all the other young gay students going through the same thing.

  3. Bullies should spend at least 30 years in prison with no parole. And that’s still a lighter sentence than the one they impose on their victms.

  4. Mihangel apYrs 17 Dec 2010, 1:40pm

    through my tears I am so angry. OUR children are being hurt, and the bigots resile from responsibility or sometimes culpability.

    Suing them will not bring this young man back, nor ease his family’s pain, but it will hurt the school that did nothing to help him, and name individuals, and maybe, hopefully, bring some to criminal justice.

  5. What a waste of a precious life. How DARE the teachers ignore the bullying. That makes me so angry. Yes, they should be sued – all the teachers who were told about the bullying and did nothing. As for the teachers who joined in and the bullies themselves, they should be prosecuted.

  6. martyn notman 17 Dec 2010, 2:32pm

    Poor guy, that video made me really angry. Even if they dont agree with his sexuality for religious or political reasons how any adult- especially a teacher- can let a kid get bullied like this astounds me.

  7. We forget that much of America is far less tolerant than the UK with regards to homosexuality. As a result nothing tends to get done in schools whereby a puipl may encounter homophobic bullying.

    I am so angry right now because this kid was only thirteen. No-one helped him at this school and the fact that a teacher joined in? What the hell?!

    The teachers should also be made accountable and the woman should sue their arses for all they’re worth. They can’t be allowed to get away with it.

    Seriously, the US is fuc*ed up. I know we’re not ideal but at least we try not to drive our gay teens to suicide.

  8. Danny, you’re making a big over generalization. I’m a gay American and my English girlfriend came over for the Summer, and it is comments like yours that made her worried to hold my hand in public!
    (For the record, we did and got curious, but overall more happy looks – Americans glad we didn’t let the fringe dictate our personal lives).

    Britain has its extremely homophobic parts too. Think of it in a size ratio. America is WAY bigger than Britain. We have 50 mini-countries, versus 4. Not counting both our little extra territories. You have American states that have Gay Marriage, recognize gay marriage and even have protections for us in jobs and other. Obviously we’re not all these gay-killers you speak of.

    P.S. I don’t even live in a state that has gay marriage or civil unions and they are actually banned here (I am making a bill to try and reappeal that now), but schools here care and my county passed a region specific hate crime and job protection law to protect LGBT people more.

  9. Bryan J Allen 17 Dec 2010, 4:35pm

    Tears swelled up watching this video and my thoughts go to Seth’s Mother,brother and family and friends.
    To think that in 2010 this behaviour still goes largely unchecked in the schools- defies belief!

    Personally,like others have said,with some teachers involvement and the remark from the Vice Principal,taking legal action is sadly the only way left to ensure nothing like this happens again unchecked.

    The Educational System should hang their heads in shame that a 13 year old child took his own life,because he was not getting the protection from bullying that he should have by rights-what a waste of a life!

    (California law requires schools to protect students from harassment based on sexual orientation)

  10. Homophobic prejudice in society can lead to depression or suicide. The Prime Minister, David Cameron says a change in culture needed to stop homophobic bullying, but in my view he fails to understand that sometimes only robust legislation can bring about that change.

    So, what is being done in British schools to comabt homophobic bullying? In the light of the Coalition’s commitment in its Programme for Government to “help schools tackle bullying in schools, especially homophobic bullying,” I thought I would ask what exactly was being done to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week. The Department for Education replied in two emails on 15th December (excerpts below). The replies were full of ‘hope’, ‘want’ or ‘expect’ but nothing concrete to force schools to act:-

    The Government did not announce any initiative during Anti-Bullying Week because it had already been made clear through previous announcements that the Government want schools to drive their own improvement which includes tackling bad behaviour and bullying. …….However, during this year’s anti-bullying week, the Coalition Government reinforced its commitment to tackling all forms of bullying through various means. This included a video message on YouTube by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg MP ……. Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education provides a context for schools to teach their pupils about homophobia and homophobic bullying. Centrally the Department does not issue information or guidance to schools on how to teach pupils about these sensitive areas as we believe schools should have the flexibility to decide these things for themselves, taking into account the needs and view of pupils and the ethos of the school. ……The Government’s approach to tackling homophobia and homophobic bullying in schools applies to all schools including Faith Schools and Free Schools. We want all schools, irrespective of their status, to take a zero tolerance approach to tackling bullying and ensure that their pupils enjoy their education free from prejudice based bullying.

    I mentioned the tragic suicide of Seth Walsh in my blog of 29th Sept.

  11. ZoeK – if you care to read my post you’d note that I specifically said “much of America” not “all of America”. There was no generalisation involved in that, let me assure you. I am happy that both you and your girlfriend were able to hold hands and had no negative encounters.

    Evidently a lot of schools do not care. Hence why we are hearing again and again that many children are committing suicide. If the schools genuingly did something then chances are these kids wouldn’t go ahead and top themselves. Not only that, there have been several recorded incidents of girls and boys not being able to enjoy their proms the way they want to – with their partners.

    I also can commend you for attempting to change the law. It takes courage and guts to make a stand and I hope that people like you and I work together in our respective countries to ensure that tragedies like this never happen again.

  12. “I’m a gay American and my English girlfriend came over for the Summer, and it is comments like yours that made her worried to hold my hand in public!”

    Hi ZoeK – I think you corrected me once too when I made a comment about the US even though mine was a ‘some’ rather than an ‘all’ comment just like Danny’s. We might forget to emphasise it but I know that many, many Americans are far from homophobic. Why I’ve quoted your comment there is that I’m from the UK and my girlfriend is American and yes, I WAS scared to hold her hand when I visited her in the US, but that wasn’t because of negative publicity, it was because she actually warned me it was risky in that part of the US (South).

    The difference between the area of the UK where I live and the area she lived in can be summed up in one word – religion. I could not BELIEVE how many churches there were! Nor the kind of ‘religious’ things people said. I think that can contribute to homophobia, although there are clearly many issues not just the one.

    You’re absolutely right about there being homophobes in every country and sadly I think there always will be – even if only a few. I’m impressed that you’re trying to get a bill to improve things for LGBT people – really impressed. It’s easy to say things, but to actually do something is brilliant. Good luck to you.

  13. I really did cry about this. Such a waste, really. He should never have had to go thought that at such a young age, or any age for that matter!
    I can’t believe that nothing at all was done about this, it really does sicken me.

  14. Mihangel apYrs 17 Dec 2010, 9:50pm

    not as an atttack, but someof the States seem more primitive than 2850s Transylvania: god-ridden, fundie-driven, bigot-enabling sinks of ignorance. I don’t want to offend, but I read a lot of what is going on in the US as far as gay issuea go, and there seems to be institutionalised homophobia.

    I wish you (all) the best; but I do worry for you…

  15. Mihangel apYrs 17 Dec 2010, 9:52pm

    that was “1850s”…….

  16. That is heartbreaking. 13 years of age and made to feel like there is no hope in the world. When teachers, people in authority who are supposed to guide and teach the young, turn their backs and even encourage such bullying…

    I remember the awful experiences that came after one of my closest friends came out at high school in England, albeit just before section 28 was repealed. The legacy of this still lingers though.

    Bullying in any form should not even be an issue, but it clearly is, and it cannot be ignored any longer. Equality means nothing to any of us if it is not inclusive of all of us. This has to be addressed.

  17. jamestoronto 18 Dec 2010, 1:59am

    What a heart-wrenching video. The teachers who ignored his pleas for help should all be fired or asked to resign, The ones who participated in the bullying should be fired and charged.

    That a young man, no, a child, this age – 13 – should come to the decision that suicide was the only way to peace is a devastating comment on the torment he must have gone through.

    To his family and true friends, I cannot imagine your grief and pain.

    I have to go – the eyes are watering up again.

    Be strong.

  18. David in Indy 18 Dec 2010, 6:34am

    “(For the record, we did and got curious, but overall more happy looks – Americans glad we didn’t let the fringe dictate our personal lives).

    Really ZoeK? And what state might that be? I noticed you failed to name it. Certainly not Indina. Or Idaho. Or Missouri. Or Montana. Or Ohio. Or Nebraska. No. Because you just might get your ASS shot off for doing something like that in one of those states.

    “Britain has its extremely homophobic parts too. Think of it in a size ratio.”

    Not like the U.S. though. Sorry.

    “P.S. I don’t even live in a state that has gay marriage or civil unions and they are actually banned here (I am making a bill to try and reappeal that now), but schools here care and my county passed a region specific hate crime and job protection law to protect LGBT people more.”

    Again, I’m happy to hear about it and how nice for you, but which state? I’m not trying to be argumentative about this, but Britain is light years ahead of most of us in the U.S. Please stop trying to defend the defenseless. Because it is obvious you don’t live in the same part of the country I do.

  19. David in Indy 18 Dec 2010, 6:47am

    We Americans are “Sue Happy”. But you can’t possibly place a price on a human life. The child is dead. Dead and gone now. So what amount? Ten thousand dollars? A hundred thousand? A million? Ten million perhaps? No amount will ever bring this dead child back to life. He’s gone now.

    Having said that, let’s look at what might happen if the family manages to win this case. The school district will repeal. Or counter-sue. Or whatever. Then the family will counter-sue them. And before you know it the whole thing is going back and fourth in court, bouncing and pounding around like ping pong balls inside a lottery machine. And just what did THAT prove?

    Take it to the Supreme Court instead. And forget about suing for money.

  20. Steve@GayWebHosting 18 Dec 2010, 2:14pm

    So so sad. That anyone can treat someone else like that in this day and age is beyond belief.

    Again, much of it fueled by the church and other nutters. Those responsible for sowing hatred should be arrested and imprisoned.

    How anyone can stand by and watch an incredible young man like this, brought to the point where he thinks that to end his life would be preferable, is beyond me.

    So sad, so many tears watching this video. More must be done to stop this happening again.

  21. I am 16 and go to school in the UK, there is a no bullying policy in place within the school which prevents people from being bullied and takes serious action against people who bully people.

    I think that it is disgusting in US schools when occurrences like this are allowed to happen.

    All schools, colleges, universities, etc, should have measures in place to ensure that students are in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable, and that they know that they can be accepted for the person that they are.

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