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Ohio Boy Cheerleader’s Arm Broken; Still Getting Threats, Still Cheerleading

Jim Burroway

September 29th, 2010

Tyler WilsonEleven-year-old Tyler Wilson of Findlay, Ohio, loves gymnastics and tumbling, which is why he decided to join a youth football cheerleading squad over the summer. He’s been catching hell over it since then. It started with teasing, but it quickly escalated:

According to the mother and the police report filed on the incident, Tyler was walking home from school when two of his alleged tormentors approached him and punched him. As Tyler continued his walk home from school, the two boys continued to follow him, the police report said. Several small skirmishes broke out between Tyler and the two boys, according to the police report, and eventually one of the boys allegedly picked Tyler up and slammed him on the ground, breaking his arm.

Kristy Wilson filed a police report and went to Glenwood Middle School. That’s when she was shocked to learn that school officials already knew about the harassment but hadn’t called her to discuss it:

When I went to the school, about two days after it happened to discuss Tyler’s story, the principal said there was an incident Monday and the Friday before, that the boy who started the fight had jumped on Tyler’s back and tried to start a fight,” she said.

Kristy Wilson said if she had known that Tyler was being physically targeted said she would have certainly stepped in to stop the situation, going as far as removing him from the school.

“I really wish the school would have let me know a lot sooner, so I could have dealt with it sooner,” she said.

Meanwhile, Findlay police have arrested the two attackers and have charged them in youth court. The lead attacker was charged with felonious assault, and the other was charged with simple assault. Their names are being withheld because they are juveniles.

Meanwhile, Tyler continues to receive threats:

It’s been bumpy,” Ohio 11-year-old Tyler Wilson said of his return to school in a morning television exclusive interview with “Good Morning America.” “People are threatening me to break my other arm because I told on them.”

…But neither the injury nor the threats is stopping Tyler from pursuing his passion for cheering, the boy said.

“It feels horrible that they can’t accept me for who I am,” Tyler told ABC News’ Ohio affiliate WTVG. “It’s my choice. If I want to be a cheerleader, I’m going to be a cheerleader.”

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

“If I want to be a cheerleader, I’m going to be a cheerleader.”

And that really threatens some people– those who have doubts about their own masculinity, and those who can’t stand to see their fears and intimidation not working.

Emily K
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

Then be a cheerleader! You’ll have so many people cheering you along.

This kid may or may not be gay but it doesn’t matter. he’s being himself, and refusing to let anyone “closet” him as a cheerleader.

Regan DuCasse
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

I know this might be a terrible thing to say…
But remember that dad that got on the bus and yelled at all the kids about what he’d do if they didn’t leave his daughter (who has CP) alone?

I’ve heard him interviewed since his tirade. And he’s apologized.
But I was thinking, when are the little punks who hurt his daughter going to be compelled to apologize?

School shootings have been precipitated by bullying. If instead these youngsters had the wherewithal to shoot their tormentors, instead of harming themselves…only THEN is the school going to act?!

This is where gay folks are not given credit for responding to such tragedy in kind.
How much opportunity do any of us have for storming the school and threatening someone with violence unless they do the right thing?
How many in the number of gay young people have been brutalized, yet…the people responsible weren’t lynched.
We have waited, we allow for the law and justice to assume it’s due course…we wait and wait again.
And if any explosion occurs, like a loud rally, or flash of anger…we’re judged as if our response is inappropriate, threatening or unwarranted.

All things considered why AREN’T the adults in all this showing some introspection, some grief and MAJOR anger at the children responsible?!
Why aren’t they as upset and angry as WE are.
We. wait.
And keep waiting…and we don’t explode like a ticking bomb.
We grieve, we make phone calls and write and hope for an audience. We wait.
We get a few crumbs from the table and are made to wait and wait again…for more.
Meanwhile, there are children in pain. Who suffer enough torment to even THINK of ways to die. To kill themselves.

And those responsible dare to think we’ll wait some more.
How do they know that?

Do they really count on a non violent, silent response…all the while saying we’re violent and threatening for daring to shed tears, for shouting at them in pain?

This is a cruel bitch of a world. And the people making it this way, couldn’t care less.
Maybe that’s the calculation my friends. That WE can wait…because THEY don’t have to worry about a thing.
Really.
Or…do they?

Seraphiel
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

And, again, we have an instance of the school officials knowing about this problem and doing absolutely nothing about it.

They have a number of legal responsibilities to the children in their care, and they need to be held legally accountable for their failures.

Regan DuCasse
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

Show of hands, who hear saw “The Blind Side?”

There was a point when SB’s character was looking for her new son in his old ghetto neighborhood. The local thugs made veiled cracks about something happening to him if he didn’t do what they said and for busting up a party.

She told them she had a Saturday night special in her bag and in no uncertain terms, “you threaten my son, you threaten me.”

I’m seriously thinking maybe this mom (all parents of threatened children) needs to put out the warning that any thugs threaten her son, some hot lead might be the next answer she has for it.

Seriously people…that’s what I would LOVE to do myself!

customartist
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

In late 2010 this is the mindset we are still faced with.

In communities that support the School Board, who support the schools, who in turn think this way, also lie the Courts and the Judges that will act accordingly to retain their positions specifically and in their communities.

Only some of them will dare to uphold justice for PERCEIVED gay conduct.

We will not gain ground by appealing to the sensibilities of these mindsets. We will have to fight.

Ryan
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

It’s indefensible that an 11 year old should have to face this level of oppression and violence. However, it’s happening whether it’s fair or not. Given today’s political climate, I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say his life is at risk. While I think many things are worth fighting or even possibly dying for, cheering ain’t one of them. His parents should step in and force him to quit cheering, or if financially feasible, move to a more liberal part of the country.

Theo
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

Wow. An actual arrest. Probably b/c the victim has not identified as gay. If he had, this would have been handled the same way as this week’s 3 gay teen bullying/suicides: no charges and let’s move on.

I see that the police and the media protect the names of the minor thugs and killers in all 4 cases. But scores of their classmates know who they are and it only takes one kid and a twitter account to expose these thugs to the world. This should haunt them for life.

Tone
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

Isn’t the school supposed to be acting in loco parentis while the boy is in their care? Terminate their employment for being negligent. Once a few principals have been fired for not protecting ALL of their students the others will get the message.

Wyzdyx
September 29th, 2010 | LINK

I hope some famous, straight male ex-cheerleaders remind everyone real soon about the scholarships that put them through college: Denzel Washington & George W. Bush, for example.

Also, does anyone remember that asian martial arts were developed as self-protection? If these kids were earning black belts, they would be learning how to avoid confrontation whenever possible, and how to walk away unscathed otherwise. Being small is no handicap with the proper training.

Rob San Diego
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

With all the recent suicides and bullying going on, it’s a shame that younger kids aren’t aware of this website. Nothing on here is ever that graphic or inappropriate and I think it would be great if they were able to read some of the great wisdom that is advised on here.

Pender
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

There needs to be a concerted effort by an impact litigation group like ACLU or Lambda Legal to sue each and every school that knows about anti-gay bullying and does not stop it.

We can’t convince these people that gay people are human beings and deserve respect. We can’t persuade them that bullying is not just a matter of “boys will be boys” but can and MUST be stopped.

We have to sue them. There is precedent. Take them before a jury and ask them why they did nothing after the kid was physically beaten, day after day, forced to live in fear of violence, harassed during school and in class. Ask them why they stood by and did nothing while a vulnerable and innocent child was being tortured on their watch. Drag as much money out of them as we can, and shame them as much as possible.

I am convinced that that is the way forward.

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