"LeVan said that some parents of Keat’s classmates at Highland Elementary School in Morrow County, had written derogatory messages, including “I am terribly ticked that the parents are allowed to send their boy to school as a girl and put him in this embarrassing situation” and “This is child abuse!”
My son is six and a half years old. He’s been potty trained with nary an accident since exactly his third birthday.
Last week, in his first grade classroom, he peed his pants. He sat in his urine until the dismissal bell rang. His pants were soaked and cold when he got out of school. He was uncomfortable and he smelled. He didn’t want anybody to know. It was his secret.
He started crying in the car.
“I’m so ashamed of myself,” he said over and over again. Tears rolled down his face, even though he willed them not to. He couldn’t hold them back.
Come to find out, my son — with his long auburn hair, pink and purple fitted clothes, feminine backpack and wrist full of rainbow-colored loom bracelets – is terrified to use the boys’ bathroom at school.
On his first visit to the boys’ bathroom, he headed straight for the safety of the stall. Boys started peeking through the cracks in the stall to see if he was going pee or poop. Pooping at school is an embarrassment. He avoided the bathroom for as long as he could. The next time he had to go, he, again, walked straight to the stall. He locked the door behind him. He lifted the toilet seat lid and unzipped his pants. He could hear them talking. He could hear them looking. He turned around. Boys were peeking through cracks again. This time they were trying to see his genitals. They wanted to know if my son has a penis or a vagina.
My son refuses to go into the boys’ bathroom again. He has stopped drinking his juice boxes at lunch. He refuses to drink anything at breakfast. He’ll do anything to not have to use the boys’ bathroom at school. He’ll do anything to avoid having strangers look at his private parts while taking bets as to what they’ll see when they get to see something.
I’m sure you can understand why my son is not comfortable using the boys’ restroom at school. He wouldn’t be comfortable using the girls’ restroom either. Because he identifies as male, the girls’ bathroom doesn’t feel like the place for him.
Dear sweet Sequoia family,
As many of you know already, my 18-year-old child Sasha was seriously burned on Monday afternoon. Sasha woke from a nap on the 57 bus to find that, apparently, another passenger — accidentally or on purpose — had lit Sasha’s skirt on fire. Sasha is now in stable condition and being very well cared for in a terrific burn center in San Francisco. We have every reason to believe that Sasha will eventually be able to return to life as usual, although the recovery process will take some time.
I wanted to take this time to send thanks to everyone who has offered words of support and love. And many even contributed to the online fundraising site set up by Sasha’s cousin Josh. I can’t tell you how moved we have all been by the outpouring of loving kindness, and how helpful that has been.
I also wanted to address how to talk to your kids about this incident. It’s in the news, and especially since it involves a Sequoia family, it may come up at school.
I think it’s really important to keep in mind that none of us can know the mind, motivations, or intentions of the person who set flame to Sasha’s clothing. Oakland Police have a 16-year-old high school student in custody, based on video camera footage from the bus. As far as I know, police are the only people who have viewed the footage. I certainly haven’t, so I can only guess at what happened. At this point, I choose to assume that this kid was playing with fire, and that he gravely underestimated the consequences of that. Others may make different assumptions, but it’s important to remember that they are all just that: assumptions. So when I talk to my students about this, I will emphasize the importance of fire safety: “Don’t play with matches or lighters.” And of course, “Stop, drop, and roll if your clothing catches fire.”
Another aspect of this story that has gotten a lot of attention is the fact that Sasha was wearing a skirt, “even though” Sasha appears to be a boy. The fact is that Sasha self-identifies as “agender” and prefers the pronouns “they,” “them,” and “their” when people refer to Sasha in the third person. (English doesn’t have commonly used gender-neutral third-person singular pronouns yet.) Being agender simply means that the person doesn’t feel that they are “either a boy or a girl.” I realize that this is a concept that even adults have difficulty wrapping their heads around. (My wife and I frequently slip up in our pronoun usage, much to Sasha’s chagrin!) So I can’t pretend that it’s an issue that all young children will grasp. But what they certainly can and should understand is that different people like different things. Different people dress or behave or look differently. And that’s a good thing. Sasha feels comfortable wearing a skirt. It’s part of their style. They also frequently sport a necktie and vest. Sasha likes the look, and frankly, so do I. It makes me smile to see Sasha being Sasha.
As I wrote above, none of us can know the mind of the kid who lit a flame to Sasha’s skirt, but I have a feeling that if he had seen Sasha’s skirt as an expression of another kid’s unique, beautiful self and had smiled and thought, “I hella love Oakland,” I wouldn’t be writing this now.
Again, many thanks for all of your love and kindness. Let’s all take care of each other.
Le Monde en face : Harcèlement à l’école - France 5 (BA) (by Administrateur Francetv)
A promo for a documentary on bullying in schools that recently aired on France 5.
A 13-year-old male cheerleader was forced to quit and leave his school just because bullies thought he was gay.
The middle school student, known as BB, from Louisville, Kentucky, is taking action against the school district.
When he joined the cheerleading squad at his first school, he was the only male in the squad.
Perceived to be gay, bullies relentlessly tortured him in and out of the classroom.
‘It was in the classroom, it was in the cafeteria, and it was in the hallway too,’ he told WDRB.
‘One time I was even practicing and they were chasing me in the squad auditorium.’
BB’s mother has hired a family attorney, who specializes in anti-bullying cases.
Ted Gordon is going to represent the family, after she said the school did not ‘adequately protect her son’.
She said: ‘This is my son and I love him and I don’t care what he does as long as it’s positive and it’s nothing that’s going to end [up with] him in a juvenile detention center’.
Gordon filed an order for protection in Jefferson County Circuit Court and is asking a judge to order the school district JCPS to protect the student from all harassment.
JCPS claims they have done everything in its power to protect the teen, and believes the protection order filed in court would be ‘impossible’ to fulfil.
They have also changed the teen’s schedule, occasionally escorting him around school, and sending a school counselor to cheer practice and to monitor possible bullying.
The district also highlighted it has held meetings with parents of the victim and the alleged bullies.
BB now attends Holmestead North, which has no cheerleading team, but the harassment still continues.
Parenting, doing it right?
Got LGBTQ Rights? Yes! (New England) (by GLADvideo)
"You have a right to an education - and being LGBTQ does not limit your rights at school. This video describes your rights as a student in public school in New England.
If you need help or more information, visit www.glad.org/got-lgbtq-rights or call our free & confidential Legal InfoLine at 1-800-455-GLAD (Mon-Fri, 1:30-4:30)
Michael Barron, Director at BeLonG To added: “The fact that the Department of Education and Skills now requires – on a mandatory footing – all schools, both primary and post primary, to address homophobic and transphobic bullying and to develop education strategies to ensure that LGBT young people are welcomed and supported in every school is a major breakthrough.
“Every class in every school in Ireland has LGBT students. Many schools are already working to create a climate that is safe and supportive for these students. Many other schools, however, are not working to support LGBT young people and these procedures provide much needed support and direction for those schools.”
|—||Ireland: Education Minister launches new policy to combat anti-gay and anti-trans bullying in schools - PinkNews.co.uk|
What Saewyc and her team found was that girls of all sexual orientations, as well as straight boys, were less likely to participate in risky alcohol use if their school had introduced anti-homophobia policies or a gay-straight alliance more than three years earlier. The study also showed that amongst those students, there was a lower rate of other problems associated with alcohol, including black-outs, problems at school, family arguments about using alcohol, and even car accidents.
“For the lesbian and bisexual girls, it seems fairly likely that having a gay-straight alliance in your school, even if you’re not participating in it, is creating a safer space for you,” she said. “Now for heterosexual students, that’s not what you expect … but people forget that when it comes to anti-gay bullying, heterosexual students can be targeted too.”
Saewyc noted that as many as two-thirds of youth who have faced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation “actually identify as straight.”
“They’re perceived as gay, or students are actually just using anti-gay terms because it’s the meanest thing they know that they think they can still get away with,” she said. But “when you have anti-homophobia policies in place (and) gay-straight alliances in place, that appears to change the environment in the school and that also will influence the health outcomes for straight kids.”
There were no significant effects for gay or bisexual boys.
|—||Anti-homophobia policies in schools reduce alcohol abuse for all students, UBC study finds | Toronto Star|
Tim Gunn - My Personal Bullying Story (by Jason Gutierrez)
"Tim Gunn talks to Friend Movement about his experience being bullied and reflects upon a friend that was there for him.
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"Pretending that nothing has changed is absurd and impossible," the archbishop said in his first presidential address to the synod, meeting at the University of York.
"The majority of the population rightly detests homophobic behaviour or anything that looks like it and sometimes they look at us and see what they don’t like," he said.
"With nearly a million children educated in our schools we not only must demonstrate a profound commitment to stamp out such stereotyping and bullying but we must also take action.
"We are therefore developing a programme for use in our schools, taking the best advice we can find anywhere, that specifically targets such bullying."
New proposals before the Synod meeting could see measures to introduce women bishops be adopted as draft legislation ahead of a possible vote in 2015.
Baby steps, but at least they are in the right direction.
anti-bullying video created for a junior advocacy project
Well done. TW for graphic images, self harm, violence.
Marcel’s StudentsFirst Petition Video (short) (by MJ N)
TW talk of bullying, suicide
Sign the petition here: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/tell…
"Gay" (by Theo Chen)
A very perceptive and articulate young man speaks about bullying at school because he is perceived to be gay.
TW: slurs, bullying
The front featured a photo of Sharp, hair draped over his shoulders, bow tie cinched. A giant X sliced across the photo. “WANT AIDS?” blared the top of the flyer. Just beneath the photo: “DON’T SUPPORT THE Isaac and Kris HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA.”
Flipping it over, Sharp saw the flyer continued on the back. In lieu of the hyperbolic, histrionic caps, though, there was text even more inflicting: Sharp’s medical records, confirming his status as an HIV-positive student.
"I was initially really devastated that this could happen," Sharp, who has taken a week to digest the message, told Hair Balls. "What was going through my head was, ‘How quickly can I transfer?’"
Sharp, who’d recently spoken openly about both his sexuality and HIV status, had heard that the flyers were floating around. He’d heard mention that someone was handing them out to passersby, but doesn’t know whether anyone’s yet laid eyes on the individual, or individuals, who spread these papers through campus. He only knows that he wasn’t expecting something this despicable, this horrific, when he initially announced an interest in running for student body president next month.