Ohio

Eye on Education

Ohio Schools Urged to Better Protect Gay Teens After Bullying Video Goes Viral

WSYX-WTTE / via YouTube

This still of a video that went viral shows the perpetrator waiting for Zach Huston to enter the classroom.

The case of an openly gay Ohio student whose vicious bullying attack was caught on video is increasing calls for anti bullying policies aimed specifically at protecting gays. The video went viral on the web, prompting the school district to take action. It may even have an effect on pending legislation at the statehouse.

 

Zach Huston had complained to officials at Union-Scioto High School about taunting and teasing from his classmates several times. Little was done about his complaints. “Kids will be kids,” he was told by teachers and administrators at the rural central Ohio school

On October 17, Huston walked into a classroom. He walked into the middle of an ambush.

A video – thought to have been taken by the perpetrator’s cousin – shows a boy pacing in a classroom until Huston enters, at which point Huston gets pushed around, knocked to the ground, and punched repetitively.

Once the video went viral on the web, it was picked up by Columbus TV stations. That’s where it caught the attention of Bret Thompson of Columbus and prompted him to act.

“I decided to get involved and start an online petition, which to date over 84,000 people have signed on asking the school district down there to reform their policies.”

Not only did his petition quickly gather signatures, Thompson says he also received about 4,000 comments on his petition’s website.

“People that were former and current students at that school. Educators across the state, first responders, parents, so many people that have been personally affected by this,” he said.

Thompson says he quickly realized the beating of Huston was not an isolated event.

“It’s much bigger than just the school or just the incident. Things like this happen to varying degrees of severity every day in the schools across Ohio.”

Nick Worner / Ohio ACLU

Just days before Huston was attacked at school, he received harassing comments on his Facebook page.

A 2005 study by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found that nearly half of Ohio students considered bullying in general to be a serious problem in their schools. A more recent national study showed that almost 90 percent of LGBT students had experienced harassment..

Union-Scioto does have an anti-harassment policy, and a bullying policy. The policies are even posted on its website.

Thompson is asking them to explicitly protect gay and transgender students in that policy.

Zach Huston – the student who was beaten up – has taken his case to the American Civil Liberties Union.

James Hardiman is the legal director for the Ohio ACLU.

Hardiman says the school has a “responsibility to not only have a learning environment but a safe learning environment. That did not occur in this instance.”

He says he has talked with school officials and asked them to amend their anti-harassment policy and resolve the situation with Huston.

But he says he deals with these sorts of cases all the time, from every corner of the state.

Hardiman blames the state’s statute.

State law says Ohio’s schools must have anti-harassment policies. The Ohio Department of Education even has a sample policy schools can adopt, or use as a guide for writing their own.

But most schools in Ohio do not have language specifically protecting gay and transgender students.

Ed Mullen, executive Director of EqualityOhio, says that’s the problem.

“If you don’t put in the policy that people shouldn’t be bullied based upon their orientation or sexual identity, often times in rural and more conservative areas as well as some suburban school districts that we’ve seen, teachers don’t believe they are supposed to intervene when someone says that’s so gay.”

-Ed Mullen, Executive Director of EqualityOhio

“If you don’t put in the policy that people shouldn’t be bullied based upon their orientation or sexual identity, often times in rural and more conservative areas as well as some suburban school districts that we’ve seen, teachers don’t believe they are supposed to intervene when someone says…’That’s so gay,’” Mullen says.

He wants school to list everyone who is protected under an anti-harassment policy instead of just generally telling students “don’t bully.”

Mullen says that is probably not going to prevent all bullying, but “it at least lets people know on day one that that’s against the school policy and that’s unacceptable.”

There are also two proposed bills around school bullying in the Ohio legislature. One would prohibit harassment on actual or perceived traits in a student. That one is stalled in committee.

The other requires schools to train their teachers and students about bullying. That one has passed in the House, and is in the hands of the Senate.

These laws aren’t always the easiest to pass. Mullen says there is often push back that the current anti-harassment policies are enough, that these laws push too far into local school jurisdiction, or that they advocate on behalf of gay students.

Mullen hopes the attention of the Union-Scioto case will give these bills a boost.

Comments

  • Karen

    Suspended for 3 days? This was premeditated violence. Please tell me offender was arrested. Please?

    • Bethany

      Bullies almost never get all the punishment they deserve. It’s so sad and one of the big problems in our world.

  • Arthur Aficionado

    This is why ‘coming out’ should be discouraged until after high school.

    • Mr. B

      Wrong answer. The problem needs to be dealt with where it exists.

      • Arthur Aficionado

        The downside risk to ‘coming out’ in high school, IMO, outweighs the upside potential. I would not counsel a high school teen to take such a risk. Moreover, teens can be confused about their sexual identity. Give it time.

        • Ms.Hughes

          Miss M. is correct. This is why *bullying* should be dealt with. You don’t let bullies set the rules.

    • Gabi

      “There are also two proposed bills around school bullying in the Ohio legislature. One would prohibit harassment on actual or perceived traits in a student.”

      Regardless of whether a student comes out or not, or really even is gay or not, doesn’t stop bullies from harassing based on what they *perceive*. We know bullies are cowards, and instead of discouraging students to be who they are, thereby letting the cowards control their life, we should be filling them with confidence – the best way to combat bullying. That also doesn’t even mean encouraging students to pick a sexual identity, but just making sure they know they are fully supported as they figure it out.

    • Miss M

      Actually this is why “bullying” should be discouraged. Telling gay kids that they shouldn’t come out is allowing bigots to set the rules. That is unacceptable.

  • Llotshaw

    Good for this mom!
    The sad truth is that people have to stand up to bullies repeatedly and publicly to get any response from school officials. What these behaviors tell us about our schools and our human nature is disgusting. Children must be taught tolerance from a young age, and that sometimes means re-educating parents who themselves are intolerant of others’ rights and freedoms.

  • Trena G

    The bullies should be permanently suspended, and they should be sent to juvenile hall to serve time, and they should receive strict counseling to deal once and for all with their completely unacceptable hatred, arrogance, rage and insecurity, which caused them to do this to this young man. .Also, all bullies should be stopped in their tracks this way. I can’t believe it that school administrators will say, “Kids will be kids.” and let it go at that! These administrators are not fit to be employed by school districts, because they show ignorance and indifference to the well being of the students when they look the other way.

    • Zelda_Ann

      It isn’t the kids that need the counseling- it is the parents that raised them to be this way. Counseling is mostly useless unless the parent’s are involved- and if you have parents that are unwilling or for some reason unable to change the family dynamic and way of thinking, then you are just wasting money. Unfortunately, too many parents today rely upon school teachers and administrators to “parent” their children for them, which isn’t their responsibility. This leads to many children navigating a complex social system without a moral compass.

  • Here’s an idea

    Where are the adults IN the building? The teachers and administrators!

    Bullies like this cowardly punk only thrive when those whose job it is to maintain a safe place for learning turn a blind eye. And yes, this bully should be arrested.

    • Bethany

      Teachers need to work harder to prevent this. It should be part of their job as teachers!

      • Benjamin Stroud

        Making the class size bigger and bigger and bigger and defunding every institution isn’t helping.

  • Arthur Aficionado

    I wonder if high school counselors are given guidance on the issue of ‘coming out’. If a counselor urges a student to ‘come out’ and he/she is assaulted as a consequence, this would seem to expose the school district to litigation risk.

  • Tamiemar

    I think everyone has overlooked the point that students shouldn’t be bullied or harassed by anyone for any reason, harassment in general shouldn’t be happening especially at school I don’t think LGBT should be listed as separate there will always be someone to bully and it should not be tolerated at all. Schools set the moral societal tone for many children. Schools need to be safe for everyone the excuse that kids will be kids is a cop out it lets kids think that you don’t expect them to be respectful.

  • Nate

    I do not condone hate crimes/bullying or violence whatsoever. Jesus Christ loves everyone, no matter their background, and I am called to do the same.
    But, here is a theory as to why hate exist:
    The mother said, “people are going to be who they are.” Prayer being removed from school allows for future rapists, future serial killers, future child abusers, future child pornographers, future child molesters, future murderers, all to grow up and “be who they are.” Is anyone acceptable with this?
    Any one of us might be one choice away from becoming one of these types of people.
    Don’t let your kid grow up to be one of these horrible possibilities. Supporting anti-prayer actions and allowing a kid to be a homosexual is the new “gateway drug” into the other types of people I mentioned above, just as marijuana leads to cocaine and meth.
    Another rant, if I may. We can’t say fag online, it is not a very nice word, but how do you think we Christians feel when GD or JC is used all over the place in the media? FCC, do you care about that?

    I guess I got a couple of my annoyances out there with this one.

    • Anonymous

      Nate, I’ve never bought into the whole prayer thing, not even as a kid, yet I’d never dream of doing some of the awful things that I’ve seen many “praying” folks do to other human beings.

      • Nate

        It is a shame to Christians when professing Christians claim that in order to be Christian means you have to be perfect. A true believer and follower of Christ, who has been saved by loving grace (we come from all types of horrible backgrounds) knows that it is impossible for any human to be perfect. Jesus’ commandments are to love Him, and love others, show the world Christ, be a light to the blind in sin.

    • scott

      your rant is highly questionable and follows no dictate of modern reason.

      • Nate

        Of course it is, Scott. Being a Christian these days isn’t the popular opinion. Definitely goes against all “modern reason,” yet is time proven through the centuries. Everyone chooses what they think “modern reason” is.

    • Dgrayelk2000

      So then, yes, Nate, you do condone bullying and hatred. You know nothing about marijuana, obviously, and you are trying real hard to pray away your gay because the intolerant bigots you hang out with have told you to hate yourself.

      • Nate

        You know me so well, don’t you. Any further reply to you is a waste of time.

    • Bethany

      Are you saying that if kids are taught to be who they are that they will turn out to be rapists and serial killers? Or that if parents don’t teach their kids to pray that they will be child molesters and murderers? And you say that you are called to love everyone, but until you accept people for who they are, how can you possibly hope to love them? I am a Christian as well, but I think that your reasoning is unkind and unloving to many people.

      • Nate

        We’re all sinners. If we are not taught how to be kind to others, the most natural choice is to be rude, crude, and mean. Spend some time with toddlers and you’ll see humans in their most natural state, rude, crude, mean, selfish. If allowed, and not dealt with by their parents, will lead to who knows what kind of behavior in their uncertain futures, or lack thereof some sort of positive influence and instruction.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rick.segreda Rick Segreda

          “Spend some time with toddlers and you’ll see humans in their most natural state, rude, crude, mean, selfish”

          There you have it, folks, a living example of the “poisonous pedagogy” that the late Alice Miller aptly observed as the root cause of so much dysfunction in our society, the notion that children are inherently “evil”. I sure hope that Nate does not, in fact, have any children, or is a teacher.

          • Ms.Hughes

            Nate did not say toddlers are evil. He spoke a simple truth. You cannot possibly think toddlers are Not rude, crude, mean, and selfish – unless you’ve never truly been exposed at length to toddlers interacting with each other. All Nate basically said in regard to the toddler thing is that it is human nature to be selfish & people have to be taught to not be selfish – it is human nature for people to need to be taught empathy also. Saying so is definitely Not the ‘root cause’ of dysfunction i our society, no matter who said so or says so. Seriously, I’m sure you could find something else to disagree with about *something* in Nate’s comment and it might be an aspect of his comment that you & I both would disagree with him on. But you’re way off base with disagreeing with his comment on toddlers. It’s not even a matter of opinion really. Who doesn’t know that toddlers are selfish?

    • Ms.Hughes

      I am a Christian and I am against what you refer to as ‘prayer’ in school – unless it is a kid praying on his or her own at an appropriate time in the school day without a school official leading them in some way to do so. There is No law against a student praying if he or she wants to before eating school lunch – or before school or after school or on the weekend. If there is free time in school (recess, whatever) there is No law against a student praying then if he or she wants to. There is No law against parents sending their kids to Sunday school on the weekend and a sectarian school during the week, although it costs extra for it. What you are advocating is public schools either leading kids in prayer or telling them they Should pray or carving out some part of the school day for prayer which is the same as telling kids that prayer should happen during school hours.

      You basically Want prayer to be taught about – in school – in one way or another. Not only would that Not turn kids into believers, but in fact it has the opposite effect of turning many people Off to religion. No one really wants the government getting into their religious or spiritual beliefs or lack thereof. The Golden Rule in Christianity is to ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ You would not want Pagan teachers or principals to tell Your kids ‘now is the part of our school day when you can worship trees & rocks if you want to.’ In fact, you would want the school system, the bureaucracy, the government, politicians, etc to keep their hands Off of the religious/spiritual beliefs of the kids in Your family. You would Not want the government, politicians, or a bureaucracy getting into that with Your kids if they were going to influence your kids towards something different from what you yourself wanted to pass on to your kids. Therefore, you shouldn’t support the government doing that to other people’s kids. You should also realize that Christianity is powerful enough on its own without needing government support to sustain it. It has eternal, timeless wisdom that speaks to the hearts of millions of people generation after generation. If you have faith in it, you realize it stands on its own. It is best shared with others in other ways instead of in public schools.

      What we need to teach in schools – and Enforce – is certain values and standards that are good for society. Those tend to be values that are contained in many religions anyways. They are values such as empathy for others, industry, integrity, ethics, etc.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rick.segreda Rick Segreda

      “Prayer being removed from school allows for future rapists, future serial killers, future child abusers, future child pornographers, future child molesters”

      Good thing none of that goes on in Catholic schools, you know, where prayer is mandatory.

      • ellygirl

        Yeah and look at all the serial killers and molesters that have come from religious backgrounds

  • pullque

    I don’t like this any more than anyone else, however, you can’t regulate emotion. I’ve seen more than I needed to see in a lifetime of bullies doing this to kids of all backgrounds, not just gay kids. Skateboarders used to get it pretty bad when I went to school in Ohio. A bully is a bully to anyone they deem weaker and/or different than them. Protecting gay teens? Try protecting anyone who is getting bullied and stop sensationalizing these issues.

    • Scott

      I think you have the issue confused, you could have easily stopped skateboarding and become interested in something else, I am not in the belief that you can just quit being homosexual and become interested in something else.
      I have been bullied for being of Mexican descent and I have been bullied for being a skateboarder. one of those was a choice and the other was not.

      • Pam

        I agree with Pullque, There should be ZERO tolerance for bullying. You seem to believe that if a person is bullied because of a hobby, the bullying is less harmful? Or that the person should change his hobby? Why?? A person should not have to change anything about himself just because of another person’s ignorance and intolerance. Bullying is emotionally and psychologically harmful to the victim no matter the reason for the bullying. I hope that the parents of this young man pursue legal action against the school in addition to the the perpetrator. I also believe that every other student in that classroom who did not make any attempt to intervene should be held accountable for not acting on behalf of the victim. I also would like to know why there were no adults around? Every adult in that institution should be ashamed.

    • Ms.Hughes

      What’s this got to do with ‘regulating emotion?’ We are not witnessing “emotion” in this video. We are witnessing physical assault – which is an ACTION. Don’t try to imply we can’t regulate people’s actions. Yes we can – they’re called ‘laws.’

  • Anonymous

    If we start protecting everybody from bullying and violence, who, pray tell, will those decent, kindly, upstanding, Christian “Conservative” folks have left to vent their hatred on?

  • Anonymous

    Now, when that kid (the victim) walks into class with a loaded handgun, the story line from Ohio will be “No one saw this coming!”

    • Bethany

      Exactly!

  • WilMart

    Someone should start a web site that documents this kind of activity. Much like sex offenders: have their face, name, their crime, and where they currently live become part of a permanent public record.

  • Erin Donald

    It surprises me that this article focuses so much on changing the language of the policy. The kid was being bullied, complained about it, and nothing was done. If they have a bullying policy and an anti-harassment policy in place already maybe the focus should be on enforcing it. I fail to see how language specifically to protect gay kids would have protected this kid if they weren’t willing to enforce the policies already in place. Also, you shouldn’t have to come out to your administrators to get them to take action against bullying.

    • Ms.Hughes

      You are right when you say a kid shouldn’t have to come out to school personnel to get them to take action against bullying. My research shows the following: What really has to happen for bullying and harassing to be effectively & sufficiently prevented in all schools is this: There has to be a Statewide law on the books. It cannot be left up to individual schools & individual school-boards & localities. The only time that you can be sure schools will do the right & necessary thing is if they Know that they Must according to Law. They have to be Mandated to protect kids from bullying and harassing & they have to know there will be Serious Consequences if they don’t (loss of funding, for one thing). It cannot be left up to individual schools & school-boards, etc. The best thing would be for there to be a national policy – a Federal law.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Erin,
      Part of the discussion around the new legislation concerning bullying and harassment in schools aims to address the concern you express here, namely that the current anti-harassment policies often aren’t enforced. Currently, all Ohio schools have anti-harassment policies, but many of them do not include disciplinary action. One of the things those two new laws hope to do is amend the current policies to include some sort of enforcement mechanism.
      Hope that helps, and thanks for tuning in.
      Ida Lieszkovszky

  • Mary

    This doesn’t surprise me that it happened in Chillicothe. :-?

  • Gabriel

    I’m a gay high school student. I am not confused. I have always been and will always be sexually attracted to guys; it’s in my DNA. I did not have a choice. Sexual identity is confusing for everyone, at any age, regardless of whether they’re gay, straight, bisexual, etc, but for me, as for countless others guys like me, I am 100 percent sure I am not at ALL sexually attracted to women (believe me, I tried to be for years, and it does not work to change who you are). We, just like everyone else, need to be protected. This video shows we are not being protected, not by a long shot. Everyone needs to be protected from bullying, no matter what. You should especially be protected if it’s something you are incapable of changing.

    • Ms.Hughes

      Gabriel, you are right when you say that you need to be protected. You deserve to be protected, too. (Adults are failing kids in this way – failing to do their Job in protecting kids.) You are also right that this video shows kids are not being protected, not by a long shot. But I want to gently correct something you said that is not always true. You said sexual identity is confusing for everyone at any age regardless of orientation. I would simply correct that by saying it is confusing for many people – not everyone. Actually, there are plenty of people who have never had to wonder about their orientation & have never been confused about it. This includes many gay & bisexual people: in fact, that is their argument against something that anti-gay people say about them. Many people who are Anti-gay (etc) will say that it is just a choice – that people are not born that way: they also say that people who think they are gay (or bi or transgendered) are only confused and need to be straightened out. I think that viewpoint is probably not what you intend to support with your comment.

  • Gabriel

    Being openly gay has saved me from a life of pain. I don’t shout out “I’m gay” all over my school building, but I also don’t pretend to be something I am absolutely certain I’m not. When people ask me why I don’t have a girlfriend, I don’t have to lie to them. Guys and girls in high school can go on dates together, and only being out of the closet has allowed me to do the same. I deserve to go on dates with guys or with girls whether I’m in high school or not. I used to live in constant fear of someone finding out my secret. It hurt so badly.

  • Gabriel

    You should be able to tell the truth and say whether you’re gay, straight, bi, or that you don’t have a clue. It is NOT okay to have to worry in high school about how risky it is to say you are anything other than completely straight. And this absolutely needs to change. I get harassed, but it’s a thousand times worse for others. I mean, Larry King was shot for sending a valentine to a guy. Bullying needs to be stopped. We need to do whatever it takes to protect students, and so if that means specifically saying that students cannot be bullied because of their sexuality, if it means specifically saying teachers must take action to punish students who say “that’s so gay” in class (I hear those words all the time), then so be it. If the rules aren’t being enforced, something has to be done to make sure they will be enforced. Every student needs to feel safe, and students are bullied for being gay a LOT. I’m there, and I see it happen, and the sad thing is, my school is one of the better ones out there.

    • Bethany

      Good for you! It takes a lot of courage to speak your opinion like that.

    • Ms.Hughes

      You mean Larry King the talk show host is gay? Bi? If you’re talking about Larry King the talk show host then maybe that helps explain the fact he has an obvious problem. I thought he was just a straight guy who is severely dysfunctional with women and needs psychological counseling – all based on my understanding that he’s been ‘married’ about 7 times (all to different women) and has kids from broken homes left and right. If that’s the Larry King you’re talking about, and if he is gay or bi- and has been in the closet all these years, then I hope he wasn’t pressured by a conservative family into feeling he had to be in the closet & pretend to be straight. I feel so sorry for people who are made to seriously think and feel that they have to live a lie. And all this time I thought he was just a jerk.

  • http://fouryellowsweaters.tumblr.com Diana

    This is a mental health issue. It is unnatural to fear other people simply because they are different from oneself. Corrective psychological steps should be taken to prevent or reverse homophobia along with violent behavior of any kind in schools. Violent behavior needs to be recognized as existing on a spectrum which includes everything from rejecting one’s own sexual orientation or identity (a form of self-violence), to making homophobic remarks, to insulting classmates who appear not to conform to arbitrary standards of sexuality and/or gender, to gathering a group of friends together to severely injure a classmate. These are all *related* behaviors and hate simply manifests in different ways and can be easily triggered to get worse in certain circumstances. Adults are negligent when we allow homophobia of any kind or degree to exist. There’s no room for compromise, and funding must be allocated if we hope to have a civilized society.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MFT7UZYYS2GGV7MKJKBLLNJYJY John M

    This abuse this student experienced is totally unacceptable. I trained as a school counselor and was viciously bullied as a youth. But I am afraid there is now an over reaction with many cases when many of these issues are not about bullying but about situations students feel uncomfortable with. For instance, one student proclaimed he was being bullied because people were staring at him. As uncomfortable as it may be for a student, sometimes they need to deal with it themselves; this is a part of learning and growth. Educated and experienced proactive counselors are instrumental to dealing with these issues and evaluating whether it is true bullying. Now, there is an increase in gay teen suicide – which has almost become a romantic way of a teen dealing with such an issue, especially when they know a pop-artist will sing a song dedicated to them.

    • Ms.Hughes

      You said you trained as a school counselor – you didn’t say you are one. If not, that’s good. But if you Are a school counselor & I knew where you worked, I’d contact the school & the media in your town to let them know about your publicly professed belief that the suicide & potential suicide of kids is not to be taken seriously – that if s/he might commit suicide or does commit suicide it’s only a kid being ‘romantic’. I would make sure they knew why you should be fired from your job. Then I would let national suicide-prevention organizations know about you so that they, too, could get on the case of getting you out of your job. In fact, we would have a petition specifically about you and why you – and anyone like you – should Not be allowed to be a school ‘counselor.’

      How DARE you profaine the memory of precious Jamey Rodemeyer who committed suicide because of being bullied & harassed. How DARE you try to diminish what happened by implying that he *only* did it because you think he could see into the future & know that someone would dedicate a song to him. Maybe people where you ‘trained’ as a school counselor – or people you interviewed with saw the truth about you & knew they had to keep you away from ‘counseling’ kids?

      Also, there is such a thing called harassment. There is bullying and there is harassment. Being harassed is more than just feeling ‘uncomfortable.’ It is being singled out to be tormented in one way or another. Bringing up something like a student being stared at when this is about a student being physically assaulted is inappropriate, as are your other comments.

    • Corina

      I would agree with you that youth do need to learn skills to effectively, and assertively let other students know when they have crossed a line with them. I would disagree that staring is not a problem. In fact, it is a form of sexual harassment. Since you do not provide a context for the situation, it is difficult to discern what is actually happening, and I would argue that that is part of the problem. Actions happen in context, and adults miss this context over and over again – kids who have been bullied tell us this, that what we see as annoyances are actually a calculated way to continue to bullying behaviors right in front of adults. In turn, when kids complain, we see them as whiners and actually start to believe that they put themselves into the situations in which they find themselves. Your comment that having a pop star sing when you have committed suicide is pretty off-putting, and I am wondering what you are really trying to say here. Surely, as someone who has been trained as a counselor, you would have had extensive training and experience in how to appropriately assess and refer students who exhibit suicidal ideations. If not, I would suggest that you volunteer at a suicide crisis line in your area for at least a year in order to understand the pain people who feel suicidal experience. If you need additional support with this aspect, you need to be advocating for it at your job. Again, the problem with suicidal ideations, especially in teens, is that adults miss the signs over and over again. I am currently an MSW student. The NASW Code of Ethics is clear that I have a responsibility to my clients, my colleagues, and my profession. It is my responsibility to continue my education and level of competencies. If I do not possess what I need in the service of client well-being, then I need to correct it or refer appropriately.

  • JA

    God Bless this world where a suspension is supposed to be punishment. How about staying in a jail cell for 3 days or a detention center. Please. Get on board Ohio

    • Ms.Hughes

      More like 3 months. A juvenile detention center, too, like you said.

  • A Simmons

    Sounds like a job the NRA can help out on.

  • Ms.Hughes

    This npr page should have a clear login/sign-in button like so many other npr pages do. The comment board on the State Impact page leaves something to be desired.

  • NMCHSEnglish3

    As an educator and the advisor for my school’s Gay Straight Alliance, I read this article with a very heavy heart. Incidentally, I was taking a break from grading essays that asked students to explain how guilt, fear and hysteria affect society. The last I read was an analysis comparing bullying of the LGBTIQ community to the Salem witch trials; the argument was that our society teaches us how to identify so strongly that the only self-recognition that we each have is to explain how we are different from others. This “us versus them” mentality is clearly rooted in our history; the only variable from one decade to the next is who to target as “them.” My disgust is visceral when I hear students taunting others (particularly the GSAers) and daily, I find myself digging for compassion, finding ways to understand their learned hate and challenging myself to guide them closer to understanding the implications of their physical, emotional and verbal violence. Fostering the space where one student can see his or herself in the eyes of an unlike other is the challenge I take on as a teacher and practicing the same myself is the challenge I take on as a human.

  • SmithJones

    Homophobic bigots are raised by homophobic bigots. Arrest the parents.

  • Kmaloneyjohnson

    Why do we have the name of the kid who was hurt, but not the name of the kid who hurt him? I agree that the punishment did not come close to fitting the crime. The kid needs to be charged with assault and battery. He needs to go to jail.

    • Anonymous

      Initially, neither students name was reported in the media. Soon after the video went viral, though, Zach Huston chose to reveal that he was the victim and talk openly about what happened. Since the students are minors, their names are not automatically released, which is why we do not have the perpetrators name. Hope that helps, and thanks for tuning in.
      Ida Lieszkovszky

  • Wrloftis

    I don’t understand how changing the language of the school policy changes ANYTHING. You don’t need language that protects a particular group of people, because language never protected anyone. Enforce the policy as written and ALL people are covered, including gay, transgender, athletes, math club members, etc.

    • Corina

      I totally agree with you that the policy, as is, needs enforced. It is important to realize, too, that there are no repercussions for the school or adults at the school within the law. However, I have read several reports and research studies for my MSW classes, and there is evidence that enumeration of all groups creates a safer school environment. If you are interested in more information on this particular aspect, I would suggest calling Ed Mullin and or Kim Welter at Equality Ohio. Otherwise, I would suggest going to the ODE web site to look at the current policy. Jill Jackson is a great speaker from ODE and she provides training around the state clarifying what the language of the Anti-harassment, intimidation, and bullying (Anti-HIB) policy actually says and what provisions are or are not available for relief and accountability.

  • Rnldkmp

    @Karen: the fact that the video recorder was already running as Zach entered the classroom says that it was very definitely premeditated. Obviously, the person with the recording device knew what was about to happen. There’s no way this thug should’ve gotten off with a 3-day suspension. That’s a very brutal attack. It’s called First-degree assault and battery!

  • Rnldkmp

    OK, HERE’S A THOUGHT: TELL THOSE OHIO LEGISLATORS TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS YOUNG BOY BEING BRUTALLY BEATEN!!! THEN, LET THEM SAY THAT THE CURRENT POLICIES ARE ENOUGH OR THAT THEY DON’T WANT TO ADVOCATE ON BEHALF OF GAY STUDENTS! AND, THEN VOTED THEM OUT OF OFFICE!!!

  • Parton22

    I believe that the victim and his parents should sue the school and the bullies parents. Because the only time people seem to pay attention is when there’s money involved. Maybe if parents have to pay for there childrens ignorance, people will start teaching about acceptance.
    I am truly a shamed of some peoples actions, Sometimes i feel like i am the only parent teaching my children how to be a good human beings.

  • Benjamin Stroud

    Zach Huston received a concussion and a chipped tooth. He’ll remember that assault for the rest of his life. The bully? Probably not.

    Why didn’t the newspaper link to the petition?

  • Lucas

    Why are the educational institutes so hesitant to take action against bullies, especially those dealing with LGBT students? Do they truly think that it is simply going to disappear? Or are they more afraid of dealing with the bully’s parents? And who are responsible for these students beating LGBT students?

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