Texas School Officials Suggest Parents To Blame for Asher Brown’s Suicide

Jim Burroway

September 30th, 2010

After thirteen-year-old Asher Brown committed suicide after years of bullying at Hamilton Junior High in Cypress, Texas, school officials first claimed that they didn’t know Asher was being bullied. Asher’s parents however deny that. “That’s absolutely inaccurate — it’s completely false,” Amy Truong said. “I did not hallucinate phone calls to counselors and assistant principals. We have no reason to make this up. … It’s like they’re calling us liars.”

Now school officials are trying a new and far more loathsome and disgusting tactic:

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD said the district’s counseling and psychological teams would be expanding crisis services for students at Hamilton.

“The district, together with the Hamilton community, is saddened by the death of Asher Brown,” the statement read. “A district administrative team is conducting a thorough and involved investigation into the allegations of bullying that have been made since the death of Asher Brown. Although the investigation is not completed, the initial findings indicate that Asher’s personal and family histories were very complicated.” [Emphasis mine]

Meanwhile seventeen-year-old student Jayron Martin has come forward again to remind everyone about the bullying he experienced in the very same school district just last November, when he was beaten with a metal pole. He suffered a concussion from those injuries. That attack occurred after Jayron reported that he had been threatened to two assistant principals, who did nothing to protect him.

How many red flags should administrators be allowed to ignore before they’re held criminally liable?

Ben Mathis

September 30th, 2010

There has got to be something the family can do against the school. It´s tragic that they let it happen, and are destined to repeat it.

Ryan

September 30th, 2010

Caution might be good, here, until more facts are in. We really don’t know what his home life was like.

customartist

September 30th, 2010

Lesson:

Never under-estimate the propensity of the Religious Right to be aggressive in overpowering others.

Christopher

September 30th, 2010

Ryan, while I agree that we don’t know what his home life was like, it’s inexcusable that school officials would bring up the subject in a public statement expressing sadness about the tragedy of his death.

If school officials really have reason to believe there were problems with Brown’s home life they should be talking to investigators about that, not issuing statements that appear to blame the parents.

dave

September 30th, 2010

There must be a lot of church goers in that town. The teachers and principal must go to church all the time. That must be why they do nothing, they got THE SICKNESS the church teaches. Discusting group of people they are.

elaygee

September 30th, 2010

The family must sue and sue big and sue wide. Sue every school administrator there, every teacher, every school board member and the city and county. Nothing teaches people how to behave better than having to pay lots of cash money for their prejudices and hate.

Richard Rush

September 30th, 2010

Another lesson:

Never under-estimate the propensity of the Religious Right to deflect responsibility for the predictable outcomes that result from their policies.

And one more lesson:

Never under-estimate the propensity of the Religious Right to redefine words in order to cast themselves as splendidly decent, noble, and insightful. Examples include:

Hate becomes love.
Bigotry becomes values.
Lies become truth.
Prejudice becomes common sense.
Ignorance becomes spiritual insight
Delusion becomes faith.

Leonardo Ricardo

September 30th, 2010

The school administration is a mess…a mess of cowards, bigots and abusers slithering around grasping for excuses because they bungled responsible care of ALL children at their school. I realize many Texans ARE responsible and accountable but this tribe of not-so-know-it-alls are plain defensive/stupid and repeatedly expose themselves to be dangerous thugs on the lamb.

Alex

September 30th, 2010

The family was negligent and shares responsibility. As a responsible gun owner, I can’t imagine a situation where I would keep a loaded gun where a child can find it. Plenty of shame to go around, and the parents are partially responsible.

Christopher

September 30th, 2010

Alex, the fact that the parents left a loaded gun where their son could find it does not make them in any way responsible for his death. Yes, it makes them negligent gun owners, but his choice of means for committing suicide is irrelevant. His reasons for committing suicide are what is relevant.

Alex

September 30th, 2010

@Christopher: they left a loaded gun where a desperate and terrified 13yo boy found it. I own a gun, it’s not loaded at home and I don’t even have kids. My dad had dozens of guns, all locked away safe when we were kids.

You said, “The means of his committing suicide is irrelevant” = not true: guns are always dangerous, the death is instant and the injuries can’t be treated. I stand by my statement that the dad who let his 13yo eat a gun is negligent, I’d lock him up for 5-10 years.

joe in oklahoma

September 30th, 2010

I wonder what his religion was. anyone know? probably not xn.

Kathy

September 30th, 2010

When I worked in a school, we had all sorts of confidentiality rules. It seems a public statement that references an individual student’s “complicated” history is a serious breach of confidentiality.

Grant

September 30th, 2010

“How many red flags should administrators be allowed to ignore before they’re held criminally liable?”

Spot on. Keep up the pressure. This awful trend is starting to get national attention. Like your Uganda reporting, you’re having a real effect here. Please please keep it up. Kids’ lives are at stake. And thank you.

customartist

September 30th, 2010

Houston Chronicle Writer:

peggy.ohare@chron.com

Searches for Hamilton Junior High in Cypress, Texas are coming up w/ nothing.

Is this the Middle school?

customartist

September 30th, 2010

There are some issues unresolved:

Is there security video available to prove or disprove that the Parents had indeed visited the school. Surely if they did visit, they talked to educators, no? If there is no video, then why? Shouldn’t there be surveillance in a School where previous reports have been alleged, and where now a 17 year old makes the very same asclaim?

And where were the Teachers when others allegedly “perform(ed) mock gay acts on him in his physical education class”?

And finally, Exactly who, by name, are the Parents saying they talked to over the course of the pase 18 months. Where did they get that figure? Are the Police still investigating?

Christopher

September 30th, 2010

@Alex: If Asher Brown had hung himself, would you be blaming his parents for leaving rope where he could get to it?

I’ll admit that it was negligent and irresponsible of the parents to leave a gun where a child could get to it, and if he’d been playing with it and accidentally killed himself that would have been at least as tragic, and would have been the parents’ fault.

His parents, however, as far as we know, aren’t the ones who drove him to commit suicide, in spite of the school board’s implication that they are.

Dakotahgeo

September 30th, 2010

Even his home and family situation aside, I want to know why this student was not safe inside or on the schoolgrounds! If the school regards “in loco parentis” as their sworn duty, they damn well better start doing their jobs! Why does it always take a financial settlement of any size to make the school districts in the USA responsible for the students’ (ALL students’) safety?? Until administrators and school board members start doing serious jail time for their inabilities to run the schools effectively, this garbage will not stop! Parents, get to work!!!
(From a retired school teacher who has experienced some unbelievably inept Educational Administrators!)

Dakotahgeo

September 30th, 2010

elaygee
September 30th, 2010 | LINK
The family must sue and sue big and sue wide. Sue every school administrator there, every teacher, every school board member and the city and county. Nothing teaches people how to behave better than having to pay lots of cash money for their prejudices and hate.
————————————
elaygee, you are correct, of course, but how much money will it take to eradicate “stupid” and “insanity” from Administrations, School Boards, and teachers? I have a better idea. Insurance companies simply should not insure any schools outside of fire, flood, and weather damage situations. Let the Administrators, school board members, and teachers insure themselves like Drs. do. There would soon be a total turnaround if they HAD TO be responsible for what happens in a school! And it can’t start soon enough!
As with automobile insurance, no Administration/teaching certificate until you have purchased insurance!

Rossi

September 30th, 2010

This family’s appearance on CNN last night was pretty heart-rending. I’d suggest a little less bluster about locking people up here. You didn’t just lose a kid. I don’t have any more facts than anyone else, but I’ll take a guess that they were fully within the law down in Texas in terms of gun ownership and possession.

It seems a bit cold to redirect away from the overall point here which is something could have been avoided long before it came down to the means used by this boy to take his own life. Have a little empathy.

John in the Bay Area

September 30th, 2010

We absolutely need to address anti-gay bullying in schools. The school seriously failed to protect this kid. I have no reason to disbelieve the parents when they say that they tried to get the school to protect their kid.

I also agree that gun owners need to be responsible with their guns. Gay and straight child suicides occur with improperly stored guns in homes. In California, it is a crime to leave a gun so that a child can get access the gun.

Guns are one of the most effective ways to complete a suicide (along with falls from great heights and hanging).

We have to do what we can to decrease the needless stress and persecution that might drive a child to contemplate suicide ( such as anti-gay abuse at school), and take basic precautions to make sure that children don’t have access to guns that could result in accidental or non-accidental injuries or deaths.

This isn’t about ideology. It is about doing what we can to decrese needless childhood deaths.

Seraphiel

September 30th, 2010

School officials -> prison.

Once a few of those useless a$$holes get a few years’ time for criminal negligence, it should inspire the others to start doing their jobs.

Timothy Kincaid

September 30th, 2010

I wonder if a case can be made for either criminal negligence or child endangerment.

werdna

October 1st, 2010

Wait, is blaming the family considered “loathsome and disgusting” now at BTB?

John

October 1st, 2010

“The district, together with the Hamilton community, is saddened by the death of Asher Brown,” the statement read. “A district administrative team is conducting a thorough and involved investigation into the allegations of bullying that have been made since the death of Asher Brown. Although the investigation is not completed, the initial findings indicate that Asher’s personal and family histories were very complicated.”

Any investigation should be done by an independent third party, although in Texas that may be hard to come by. A school district that states that it doesn’t have a bullying problem is to investigate itself? Please.

BJ Heckman

October 2nd, 2010

My grandson was also threatened at knifepoint by a student in the same school district and the school nrver suspended the kid or removed them to separate classes. Even after the attack, my grandson had to put up with his bullying because CyFair said there was nothing they could do. My grandson was a sixth grader and it was his first year in the school.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Jubal

Another Temporary Hiatus

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1971: Minnesota Couple Stake Claim To First American Same-Sex Marriage

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1954: "Perverts Vanish" From Miami

Born On This Day, 1907: Evelyn Hooker

Born On This Day, 1925: Fr. John J. McNeill

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.