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Gay teen sues school district over years of ‘indifference’ to homophobic bullying

Lydia Smith September 19, 2018

A high number of LGBT teenagers experience bullying (Pexels)

A former student is suing his school district claiming staff were “indifferent” when he was targeted by bullies.

Guadalupe Paredes, now 19, filed a lawsuit against the Kenosha Unified School District, claiming the school failed to act when he was subjected to homophobic abuse by other pupils throughout elementary and middle school.

He says the abuse started when he was in third grade, when he was aged 8 to 9, but it continued into middle school and got so bad that he was hospitalised for psychiatric treatment.

At one point, Paredes says he was told to kill himself and was called slurs by other students.

Research suggests nearly half of LGBT youth in the UK have experienced bullying  (Pexels)

Yet when his mother complained to the administrators, Paredes was told to “avoid” the bullies and he was still placed into classes with them.

Parades also says a member of staff told his mother he brought on the bullying himself by “acting gay” and “telling other students he was gay.”

According to the lawsuit, an assistant principal at the Edward Bain School of Language and Art told Paredes to speak to the principal about the bullying because he “didn’t feel comfortable with [his] kind.”

Although he later transferred to a different high school, Paredes dropped out because “mental health issues prevented him from being successful.”

Poor mental health is prevalent among LGBT youth (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty)

The lawsuit states the school district violated Title IX which bans sex-based discrimination in schools that receive federal funding.

Earlier this year, a survey of young people in the UK has found 62 percent of LGBT youth have experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of bullying.

The Annual Bullying Survey, carried out by the charity Ditch the Label, found 43 percent of people within the LGBT community questioned have been bullied in the previous 12 months.

More than 9,000 people aged between 12 and 20 were surveyed.

Of those within the LGBT community, nearly a third – 31 percent – had attempted suicide because of their experiences and half of the respondents said they had self-harmed.

A further 31 percent said they had developed an eating disorder and 70 per cent said they had developed social anxiety.

More: bullying, Homophobia, lgbt youth, school, US, US, youth

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