Mother of Bullied 11-Year-Old Who Committed Suicide Last Year Calls on President Obama to Do Something to Protect America’s Youth

Jason Cianciotto

October 16th, 2010

First, watch this video from CNN in Atlanta.

The epidemic of bullying in schools has been close to the top of the news cycle for over a month now. The American attention span, often reduced to 30-second sound bites, remains focused on the heart-wrenching stories of young people and their families from around the country. The youth in these stories have ranged in age from 11 to 19 and they have come from all manor of background and socio-economic status.

What they all share in common is the tragic impact of bullying and a lack of successful intervention by those tasked with ensuring the protection of students in school on a daily basis. Inconsistency in action by school teachers and administration is matched by inconsistency in laws and policies designed to address and prevent bullying in schools.

As of September 2010, only 14 states and the District of Columbia have laws that addresses discrimination, harassment and/or bullying of students in school based on sexual orientation and gender identity: California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

In addition to those states, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin ban discrimination and/or harassment based on sexual orientation (gender identity is not included as a protected category).

A number of additional states have anti-bullying laws that do not enumerate categories of protection, including sexual orientation or gender identity. No doubt these laws were created, in part, to allay the concerns of social conservatives who fight tooth and nail to prevent sexual orientation and gender identity from being included in legislation.

However, as former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said in the landmark ruling against Colorado’s Amendment 2, “Enumeration is the essential device used to make the duty not to discriminate concrete and to provide guidance for those who must comply.”

In other words, nondiscrimination and anti-bullying laws should absolutely include sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as other categories of protection.

In an earlier post, I wrote about unique opportunities that arise to create legislative and social change, often without some coordinated plan by activists and pressure groups focused on a particular issue. This is one of those opportunities to address bullying and discrimination in schools.

I applaud and honor Masika Bermudez-Carrasquillo, in memory of her son, for appealing directly to President Obama to do something to force schools to better care for bullied students and ensure accountability for those who fail to do so, including the parents of bullies.

Leading up to and post the mid-term election, Congressional leaders and President Obama have a historic opportunity to take leadership on an issue that the overwhelming majority or Americans will support: Protecting our nation’s youth.

There is an opportunity to revisit legislation already languishing in Congress – the Student Nondiscrimination Act (SNDA) and the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) – to see whether their provision adequately address the need to protect students. For example, many Box Turtle Bulletin readers, commenting on a previous post about those laws, called for more explicit provisions that allow parents to take legal recourse against school districts and administrators who fail to protect students.

While the tragic affects of bullying will likely continue, at some point the American consciousness will move on. Our major news outlets will be enraptured by the outcome of the mid-term election and momentum to create change on this issue will diminish.

NOW is the time for the President and Congress to act. I encourage you to contact your Senators, Representatives, and the President to ask them to take leadership on this issue.

I also encourage you to contact the leadership at HRC (202.628.4160), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (202.393.5177), and GLSEN (212.727.0135) to voice your hope that they are doing everything they can to seize this moment to protect our nation’s youth.

customartist

October 17th, 2010

Just as we have National Hate crimes Legislation, there needs to be National Bias Intimidation Legislation passed.

Local authorities are just not addressing these issues, as evidenced by a one week investigation into the death of the 13 y.o. in Tehachappi, CA. where the Police ended the investigation within one week. A child died, and the local athorities want it to just go away.

National Laws allow, and require, the FBI to enter the picture.

Physical violence is not necessariily a prerequisite to Bullying, which frequently comes in the form of words.

We must protect Children, and adults as well, from Intimidation resulting from biases (of any kind).

“Bias Intimidation” is the correct term.

Richard Rush

October 17th, 2010

customartist wrote,

Local authorities are just not addressing these issues, as evidenced by a one week investigation into the death of the 13 y.o. in Tehachappi, CA. where the Police ended the investigation within one week. A child died, and the local authorities want it to just go away.

I agree. Local authorities, including school teachers and administrators, are a product of, and thus now part of, the local communities that are fostering the anti-gay attitudes which result in bullying. It’s naive to expect that these “authorities” would somehow be substantially different in prevailing attitudes than their communities.

So far, it appears that the local authorities are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Bob Barnes

October 17th, 2010

On a different track, who really thinks Obama understands what sexual orientation or gender identity really is? I have no faith that this man has resolved his on inner conflict with gays.

Seriously, I’m pretty sure Obama’s path (and final solution) to LGBTI equality is with a whole new set of Jim Crow laws, promoting separate but equal. Exactly the right formula to continue this same environment for hostility.

TomTallis

October 17th, 2010

Asking Obama to “do something” is like asking a boulder to dance. It ain’t gonna happen, ESPECIALLY on gay rights/protections issues.

I used to think that Obama was eloquent, but now I realize that I mistook glibness for eloquence. He’s all hot air.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”

early657

October 17th, 2010

This is the same Kyra Phillips who takes every opportunity on CNN to present her personal homophobia during her reports. She only recently titled one of her reports ‘Homosexuality, Is It A Problem In Need Of A Cure?’. As if the topic and title wasn’t bad enough, Kyra included a title at the bottom of the screen “Finding A Cure For Homosexuality”. Kyra Phillips is part of the problem, not the solution. She shouldn’t be on the air. Now she wants us to believe she is sincerely crying as she reports about a suicide? This suicide was enabled by Kyra and her homophobic presentations she does for CNN: “The Most Trusted Name In News” (bullshit).

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/04/06/cnn-gay-cali/

Brian

October 17th, 2010

Obama is a waste of time, effort, and space.

customartist

October 18th, 2010

Call your congressmen here:
800-828-0498 Congressional Switchboard
202-224-3121 Main Capitol Switchboard
Tell them to create and pass a “National Bias Intimidation Law”. This will allow, and require, the FBI to step in when local authorities do not act with due diligence.
This is the he most correct and accurate definition of the needed legislation. This includes Intimidation and Bullying which is not necessarily physical, nor specific to LGBT’s.
The operator can connect you to your congressmen if you do not know who they are.

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

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

Today In History, 1969: Stonewall

Today In History, 1970: First Gay Pride Marches to Commemorate Stonewall

Today In History, 2000: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Boy Scouts' Gay Ban

Today In History, 2009: Fort Worth Police Raid the Rainbow Lounge

Today In History, 1936: John Inman

Born On This Day, 1942: Jim Kolbe

Born On This Day, 1942: David Kopay

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.