Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another Bullying-Related Suicide – and a Call to Claim Your Rights

Yesterday news broke about Asher Brown, an eighth-grader in the Houston, TX area, who was found dead in his stepfather’s closet. The 13-year-old boy had shot himself in the head after what, according to his mother, was relentless bullying and harassment from classmates, much of which centered around being teased for being gay.

Beyond the obvious tragedy that we have lost yet another child to bullying-related suicide is the fact that Brown’s mother, Amy Truong, tells reporters that she made multiple calls and reports to Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District asking them to address the persistent harassment and bullying of her son by four other students. Truong says that none of the calls were returned, and the school district claims that such calls were never placed and any investigations that were done turned up no evidence of a problem.

Regardless of what transpired, the fact is this: another child is dead.

While there is nothing that could ever remedy this situation, this needs to be another call to action to all of us to demand that bullying and harassment are addressed in schools. One of the most important tools that we have for this is right at your fingertips – the PFLAG / GLSEN Claim Your Rights Campaign.

In order to make the case for legislation that will address bullying and harassment, create resources to respond, and create accountability for dealing with these cases before they become tragedies, we need your help. We need to be able to prove that this is a persistent and widespread problem that needs to be seriously addressed immediately. Your reports can help do that.

Please – if you are being bullied, harassed, or discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity – check out the Claim Your Rights resources and consider filing a report. It is only with everyone working together to send a message that this is an issue and it must be addressed that we can end these kinds of cases.

This time, it actually is a matter of life and death. Claim your rights now.

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