Showing posts with label Bullying. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bullying. Show all posts

December 29, 2019

Mother of Bullied Suicide Victim Nigel Wants To Be A Mother For Those In That Place

Image result for nigel, bullied

Huntsville mom Camika Shelby has a message for LGBTQ youth: If you live in an unaccepting household, she's your mother now.

   Image result for nigel, bullied
Dressed in a white T-shirt adorned with rainbow letters and a rainbow-themed fanny pack, Shelby gave different gifts of encouragement during a Christmas event for black LGBTQ teens at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Saturday (Dec. 21). She took her time as she gave the youth long hugs, smiled as she gave them gift bags full of self-care items they can use to soothe themselves during a tough day and she typed her contact information into the youth's phone.

Shelby wanted to make sure the youth had all the tools they need if they ever get in a depressed space. Her openly-gay son, Nigel, was 15-years-old when he died by suicide in April in Huntsville. Although his mother was accepting of his sexuality, the family said Nigel was bullied. Camika Shelby said she couldn't talk about the school system due to legal reasons. 

But Nigel's death birthed a campaign focused on suicide awareness and the importance of LGBTQ-acceptance in homes, schools, and churches. She makes sure she is accessible to any LGBTQ teen who needs a listening ear by maintaining Nigel's Instagram account and creating a Facebook group. Connecting with LGBTQ youth has become part of Camika Shelby's grieving process. Her son's spirit was made of sunshine and this is her way of keeping his encouraging legacy alive. 

“I don’t want it to be, ‘the 15-year-old that committed suicide,’” Camika Shelby said during a Facebook live interview with’s Black Magic Project. “I want it to be ‘the 15-year-old whose suicide changed the world.’”

Multiple reports have expressed the need for more LGBTQ-friendly spaces, especially for youth who are vulnerable to racism, homophobia, and transphobia. The Human Rights Campaign reported that 90% of the more than 1,600 black LGBTQ teens surveyed said they have experienced racial discrimination. Along with this, 47% of respondents said they have been taunted or mocked by family members due to their sexualities and gender identities. AIDS Alabama, headquartered in Birmingham, has helped 33 homeless, black LGBTQ youth since 2016. While LGBTQ youth of color are more likely to experience depression and anxiety due to these stressors, the HRC survey pointed out the lack of LGBTQ-friendly and culturally-trained counselors.

The family-oriented nature of the holidays can amplify feelings of rejection and hopelessness in LGBTQ youth. This is why Camika Shelby was the main speaker during the annual Angel Toy Drive event in Birmingham. During the hour and a half celebration, black LGBTQ teens received $100 gift cards, self-care kits and listened to multiple LGBTQ mentors who talked about how they overcame bullying, suicidal thoughts and the services that are available to them.

During her speech, Camika Shelby stressed the importance of LGBTQ youth creating their own families if theirs is not accepting of their sexuality or gender identity.
"Sometimes family can be your own worst enemy. If they don't love you for who you are, they don't deserve you," she told the youth. "Don't let people tear you down for who you are. God knows who you are, and he makes no mistakes."

This wasn't Camika Shelby's first time speaking following her son's death. She has participated in two suicide awareness panels. The first one was at Alabama A&M University during a national suicide prevention month in September. She brought her message to a national stage when she appeared on "CBS This Morning" earlier this month.

While Nigel's death is being honored around the nation, Camika Shelby used the event in Birmingham to talk about his life. In between the pauses of pain and tears, she talked about her son's obsession with Beyonce and how he used to give her pop quizzes about Ariana Grande's life. Nigel is also her rainbow baby. Due to medical conditions, Camika Shelby said experienced multiple miscarriages.

"But it was something about Nigel. He was a fighter and he made his way into this world," Camika Shelby said. “From the moment I saw his smile, I knew this child was going to be special.”
Multiple celebrities also knew Nigel was going to be extraordinary. From Justin Bieber to Janelle Monáe, singers and actresses expressed their support for the Shelby family both emotionally and financially. Actress Gabrielle Union and her husband, former NBA star Dwayne Wade, helped pay for Nigel's funeral, Camika Shelby said. She appreciates how the couple has become cheerleaders for LGBTQ youth, especially when it comes to their own LGBTQ child, Zion. During an interview with Showtime's All the Smoke podcast on Thursday, Wade used Zion's preferred pronouns, she/her/hers, for the first time.

"For them to be in the public eye like that, that is amazing," Camika Shelby said of the couple.
Sunshine and smiles followed Nigel wherever he went, even into his final moments, his mother said. After he passed away, Camika Shelby found an uplifting text message on his phone that he was going to send to a friend who was going through a hard time. In the message, Nigel encouraged his friend to believe they are beautiful and not to let allow anyone to make them think otherwise.

"I cried and then smiled because it was a reminder of how much of an amazing child he was," Camika Shelby said. “When a person is having suicidal thoughts, they are thinking about ending it all. Before he made that choice, he stopped and took his time to uplift his friend.”

Creating a safe world for LGBTQ youth also means advising parents on how to support their teen's life. Camika Shelby demonstrates how to do this through her own story with Nigel. She said her son wasn't the first person to tell her he was gay, but her spirit did. So when Nigel admitted his sexuality to his mom at the age of 13, she treated as if it was a casual conversation and asked what he wanted for dinner. When Nigel was ready to tell his father and other relatives about his sexuality, momma sat closely beside him every time.

After Nigel's death, Camika Shelby said multiple family members asked her why she didn't tell them Nigel was gay. She said she didn't have that authority to tell his story.
"It wasn't my story to tell. Once he was ready to tell it, I sat right beside him," Camika Shelby said. “I needed him to know that I am right here. We are not sure how the person on the receiving end is going to take it. But as his mother, I am going to be right here.”

She also made sure Nigel felt very affirmed in himself. Proof of that can be seen in one of the most shared photos of her son - the one of him smiling and holding up the peace sign while wearing a rainbow-themed hoodie.

Camika Shelby and a friend spotted the hoodie while Christmas shopping last year. While Nigel lived in an accepting household, she got a feeling he was still uncomfortable with being himself outside of their home. So she bought him the hoodie as a gift, despite her initial hesitation.

"The rainbow flag will let the world know he is gay," Camika Shelby said. “Because I know how rejecting society can be, I was a little hesitant to buy it. But I went ahead and bought it anyway.”
She still cries over her son's reaction to the gift on Christmas Day. After opening the present, Nigel immediately dropped the hoodie and ran into his mother's arms. It was a moment of love, laughter and a lesson about the order of the stripes on the rainbow flag.

"He gave me the biggest hug ever because it symbolized to him that it was OK to be gay," Camika Shelby said, her voice quivering in pain at first, but then her voice booms into laughter. “He said, 'Momma, I really loved this gift. It is my favorite one. But by the way, the colors are not in order.'”
Tears pooled in her eyes again as she expressed her gratitude to those sharing the photo of her baby in the hoodie. She's still adjusting to her new normal where her emotions are constantly teeter-tottering between pain and peace. It's especially hard to find balance during the holidays.

The hoodie was her last Christmas gift to her only child. It was a tradition in their household to wear matching outfits to holiday parties. That won't be happening this year. One of Nigel's favorite holidays is New Year's Eve.

"I have my days when I don't want to get out of bed. I don't feel like I have a purpose anymore," Camika Shelby said. “For 15 years, I woke up every day with my mindset focused on what can I do to make Nigel's life better, and in a blink of an eye he was gone.”

Support from family, friends and her faith build the foundation of her strength. She must remain strong, she said. Not just for herself, but for the many other LGBTQ youths who have reached out to her across the country.

“I may have lost my own biological child, but I have gained so many more,” she said.
Nigel may be physically gone, but she knows she carries his spirit of encouragement with her. She allows him to speak through her as she tries to uplift the youth and give out her number and social media contacts.

"I'm to the point where I'm realizing that my baby had a purpose, regardless of whether it is here on this earth or not," she said. “So now, I'm his purpose. I am going to continue to speak out. I am going to continue to tell his story.”

And she is going to continue to reach out to other LGBTQ youth, she said.
She needs them to know that at least one mother is willing to sit beside them during their moments of need - just like she did with her son all those years ago.

Youth can use the following links to contact Camika Shelby:
-Facebook group: IamNigelShelby
-Instagram: remembering_nigel

Read more here:

November 18, 2019

Jordan Explains Why He Fought The Bully and Since I've Been There Many X's I Understand

This is Adam (me) with Bob Seals who was my boyfriend at the time and he was with me when I was shot. I was shot in the leg and that's why I have a cast on.

This story of this young man defending himself against a bully still bouncing the news porticos. I have been beaten and I have fought in New York City a band of guys and a big girl!! because I asked while I was visiting my mom why someone had pulled a knife and my half brother and nephew on the elevator the night before. It was the only thing I could hear when I got to my mom's from my brother and nephew. They knew I went there every Wednesday night to see mom, dinner and many times to do my laundry. They were waiting for me. I was not going to behave like my brothers had on different occasions. 

My brothers except one once had defended me that way. I was always disappointed as a kid in 4, 5 grade that complaining to one of my older brothers that someone twice or three times my age said he was going to do something physical or sexual never invited them to say show me. It was more like you seem to be tough enough around the house to be tough with them. I always thought since they abused me from time to time maybe they would be jealous of someone else abusing who they are. 

Maybe it was wishful thinking probably based on some movie I had seen. I also fought a couple guys at a bar and the blood spilled was not mine. I have also been shot (mentally) resisting a robbery at gunpoint. I say mentally because I meant to take the gun away from the guy that was holding it but it was on my mind I was just there standing to wait for them to make the next move. I was holding my self from doing anything because they had my boyfriend on the sidewalk laying on top of him and I did not know what they would do to him. 

These guys most have perfected this kind of holding up someone. There were two of us and I was tall enough but we were coming out of an after-hours club on W14 st., in Manhattan. Otherwise one with the gun to me, one or two holding my boyfriend down on the cement sidewalk and a lookout. White, black and Hispanic. The white one-shot me and said this is so you know we are serious".

 I didn't know what that meant because I thought they were serious but thought the gun was too big and pretty to be real (.45 long nose). So I know about bullies, had to deal with them until I hit high school. I also was no longer following the rules I was taught about violence and turning the other cheek etc. Now I was going to turn the other cheek of the guy coming after me to steal from me or just to see if he was a gigger dude than me.

I understand this young guy feeling and I'm behind him 100%. How could I say not when I have been in the same situation and in one or two situations I have done the same thing. I hope he takes care and watches his back because this is been given too much publicity and there might be some guy wanting to take him down. My best wishes to him. If he has a family outside of the city I would take a long or permanent vacation ( I understand he will be taking home school, which is great). On the situation in which I went down to ask about who put a knife on my brother and nephew, a whole gang of 8 to 12 jumped me with sticks and everything they had. I fought them until the cops came.  No help from anyone. Because of that, my mom had to move out of the rent control building to State Island because of all the threats against the family living there. I didn't live there but I told my mom she had to move. Every time I went to see her I need it to go well protected which could have turn out into a deadly situation. My state of anger was so great one of the guys that the police arrested I told them He was not one of them. He hit me a few times in the head and I wanted him for myself. It turns out these stupid dudes were also into drugs and as soon as THe AIDS virus came around it took a bunch of them.

November 12, 2019

Gay Teen Defends Himself Against Bully Twitter Calls Him A Hero

jordan steffy fighting bully

An Indiana teenager has gone viral for defending himself against another teenager who had allegedly bullied him for his homosexuality, Insider reports.  

Last Friday, Jordan Steffy, a junior at LaPorte High School, tweeted a video of himself confronting a classmate who had purportedly posted a homophobic message about him on Snapchat. 

"He made an anti-gay post with a picture of me on it saying how he hated gays and a bunch of throwing up emojis all over it," he told Insider. "I walked up to him and said 'Why did you post this?' He said 'It was just a post.' And I said 'Well, it's not just a post. It's a post about me, saying how you dislike who I am, and I don't appreciate that.'"

Steffy, who added that he's been dealing with bullying since he came out in the seventh grade, said the classmate then tried to provoke him.

"He went on to say 'Okay, but what are you going to do about it?' I said 'I'm not going to deal with this, this is the last time I'm called anything,'" Steffy recalled. "And then he said 'What are you going to do about it, f*ggot?' And that's when I was like 'No, I'm not doing this.'"

In the now-viral video, Steffy tells the unidentified student to back up before the student calls him a homophobic slur. Steffy then shoves the purported bully before telling him to "not f*** with" him.

"I just got sick of it," he told Insider. "It's crazy the amount of hatred I received just for liking who I like and being me."

Unfazed, the student repeats the slur before a fight ensues seconds later.  

As of Monday afternoon, Steffy's video has received more than 2.4 million views and close to 24,000 retweets. Many on Twitter praised him for sticking up for himself. 

"Jordan I'm a retired teacher and judge of the juvenile court," one person wrote. "I don't hold with violence but I do hold with self-defense and I think you did a very very good thing. Maybe this youngster will think twice before trying to build himself up by being an idiot. Good for you!" 

"Jordan, I am so proud of you," another person tweeted back. "I wish I had your courage when I was in school. You probably don’t even realize that you just spoke for so many kids that get bullied. You will see how many other kids you inspire to be themselves and stand up for themselves." 

Steffy told Insider that he was sent to the principal's office and subsequently suspended. Though he admitted he regrets getting into a confrontation, he said he does not feel sorry for standing his ground. 

"If I could take it back, personally, I would," he said. "But I'm glad I stood up for myself. If you were in my shoes, you'd probably get sick of it and you'd want to stand up for yourself."

In several follow-up tweets on Monday, the teenager thanked his followers for their support while encouraging others to use his incident as a lesson to be more tolerant and inclusive. 

"I just want to say that people out there that are bullying the kid who calls me the slur, it needs to stop all bullying needs to stop regardless people calling him things is no better than what he said to me I want all the hatred and negative comments to stop," Steffy tweeted. "Please love All!!"

September 12, 2019

Abel Acevedo At Sentencing For Killing His 15 yr Old Bully, Abel Being Seen As Gay

Abel Cedeno at his sentencing on Tuesday. Mr. Cedeno was convicted of manslaughter after fatally stabbing a classmate at their Bronx high school in September 2017.

Abel Cedeno at his sentencing on Tuesday. Mr. Cedeno was convicted of manslaughter after fatally stabbing a classmate at their Bronx high school in September 2017.

CreditCreditBrittainy Newman/The New York Times
By Colin Moynihan
Lacey Providence vividly remembers the day two years ago that a pair of detectives at a hospital in the Bronx told her that her 15-year-old nephew had “succumbed” to injuries after being stabbed in school by a teenage classmate.

She remembers her sister collapsing and her nephew, in shock, dropping a container of Tic Tacs. She said she could still hear the sobs and shouts from family members imploring God to bring back her nephew, Matthew McCree.

Also indelible, she said in State Supreme Court in the Bronx on Tuesday, is the memory of Matthew’s body being rolled into a room on a gurney.

“Matthew’s lifeless body was drenched in blood with a cut so deep I could see his ribs,” Ms. Providence told the court, her voice breaking. 

Ms. Providence spoke before Abel Cedeno, a then-18-year-old student at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for fatally stabbing Matthew and grievously injuring another student, Ariane Laboy, in September 2017.

The fatal attack was the first in a New York City school in more than 20 years. It drew heightened attention because of the circumstances surrounding it. Mr. Cedeno said he had suffered years of physical and emotional abuse because he was gay and then lashed out in self-defense against students who had been afflicting him.
Justice Michael A. Gross of State Supreme Court in the Bronx rejected that defense in July after a bench trial and found Mr. Cedeno guilty of first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

On Tuesday, Justice Gross declined to grant a request by defense lawyers that their client is treated as a youthful offender, saying that a history of being bullied could not be seen as a “license for murderous rage.”

Mr. Cedeno, wearing a pinkish shirt and with his hair dyed red, sat impassively through Ms. Providence’s statement and the sentencing.
In a statement on Tuesday, Darcel D. Clark, the Bronx district attorney, said: “There was no evidence at trial that Matthew McCree or Ariane Laboy had ever bullied the defendant. His explosion of rage has left so many lives in ruins, including his own.”

After the fatal stabbing, Mr. Cedeno’s case became something of a cause célèbre. Some gay rights advocates rallied to his defense, seeing him as emblematic of young people who are abused because of their sexuality. Members of the L.G.B.T.Q. the community argued that the school should have taken action against those who had bullied a gay student.

Mr. Cedeno was represented at no charge by two gay lawyers, Christopher R. Lynn, and Robert J. Feldman, who said the proceedings were a “gay pride trial.”

Mr. Cedeno also had the support of several elected officials, including City Councilman Rubén Díaz Sr., who has been criticized for making homophobic remarks but helped Mr. Cedeno post bail soon after he was charged. Mr. Díaz also wrote a letter to the judge urging leniency in the sentencing of Mr. Cedeno, who lives in his district in the Bronx.

A Gay Teenager Fatally Stabbed a Classmate. Was It Self-Defense? July 12, 2019

It emerged during the trial that Mr. Cedeno had bought an illegal switchblade online for $44.89. He testified that he obtained it for protection after years of abuse. On that day in 2017, after students threw crumpled pieces of paper and broken pencils that he thought were meant for him, he said, he flicked it open, then waited in a defensive posture, with the blade extended.

Other students who testified said that Mr. Cedeno started the fight and that he was the one who had used homophobic slurs. The lead prosecutor, Nancy Borko, told Justice Gross that Mr. Cedeno had practiced with the switchblade and was looking for a fight with “his trusty new knife.” 

Mr. Laboy’s mother, Felicia Laboy, also addressed the court on Tuesday, telling Justice Gross that although she was the “more fortunate of the two mothers,” the attack by Mr. Cedeno had “devastated my son and deeply affected my family.”

“He lost his best friend, his childhood, his joyful nature,” she said, adding that Mr. Laboy is now home-schooled because his hand was injured so badly that he cannot hold a pen.

Ms. Borko told the court

that Mr. Cedeno’s conduct had been “intentional and violent” and that he had shown little remorse while trying to minimize his actions. She asked Justice Gross to sentence Mr. Cedeno to 30 years in prison, partly as a way to bring justice to the families of his victims.

“There is no pain equal to that of a mother who has lost her child to unexpected violence,” she told the judge. “The order of the universe is reversed.”

Mr. Lynn countered that Mr. Cedeno had accepted responsibility for his actions and urged the judge to consider mitigating factors in his sentence. Mr. Cedeno had no previous criminal history, Mr. Lynn said, was not a danger to anyone, was not likely to become a danger and had garnered letters of support from prominent people who believed that he could go on to lead a productive life.

Mr. Cedeno addressed the court in a halting voice, pausing frequently as he told Justice Gross that he was not the same person he had been two years earlier and that he regretted the pain he had visited upon others.

“I know that I was the one who brought in a knife,” he said, adding: “I wish I could take it all back.” 

Justice Gross said he believed that Mr. Cedeno had been bullied but noted that he had testified that he had not really known his victims and that they had not tormented him. He added that on the day of the stabbings, he had issued an “obscenity-laced invitation” to fight.

Matthew “died within minutes on the floor of that classroom,” Justice Gross said. “With his passing died a future of boundless dreams.”

A few moments later, Mr. Cedeno rose unsteadily to his feet and was handcuffed before being taken from the courtroom. From the left side of the gallery, faces stared at him. On the right side, some people raised a hand.

“We love you, baby,” called one supporter, as Mr. Cedeno appeared to nod in acknowledgment before being escorted away by court officers.

July 17, 2019

A Bullied Gay Teen is Found Guilty of Manslaughter, Assault and Criminal Possession by State Judge

Image result for killed Matthew McCree
Abel Cedeno facing 50 years. Something went very wrong here. A Youth is attacked for being gay and one of his attackers paid with his life. No one is taking the blame but at least the parents of all involved should review why two of them went for a boy classmate because of his orientation and of the gay boy and the school for not helping this boy with the bullying. There is much that could have been done. Any learning points for this community and SCHOOL?.

Abel Cedeno testified that, after years of bullying, he feared for his life when he fatally stabbed a classmate who had punched him. 

In September 2017, Abel Cedeno stabbed and killed Matthew McCree at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx.  The New York Times

On a September morning two years ago, Abel Cedeno put on a pink Kylie Minogue shirt, and then tossed his books and inhaler into his backpack.

Just before leaving for school that day, he took a switchblade knife he had bought online from the top of his dresser and placed it in his pocket.

Within a few hours, the then 18-year-old senior had fatally stabbed Matthew McCree, 15, and permanently maimed Ariane LaBoy, 16, in a history class at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx.

On Monday, a state judge found Mr. Cedeno guilty of manslaughter, assault and criminal possession of an illegal knife, rejecting Mr. Cedeno’s claim he had acted in self-defense after Mr. McCree had punched him. Mr. Cedeno faces up to 50 years in prison. 

Related image
 Mathew McCree15 died of stabbed wounds and wounded Ariane LaBoy 16, partner of Matthew in the fight
Shouts of “Yes!” echoed through the courtroom when the guilty verdict was read. Mr. Cedeno, who had been free on bail, showed no emotion. His mother, Luz Hernandez, wept from where she was sitting a few rows behind him before he was handcuffed and taken into custody.

Mr. Cedeno had waived his right to a jury and had put his fate in the hands of Justice Michael A. Gross of State Supreme Court in the Bronx.

In eight days of testimony stretched over a three-week bench trial, more than 20 witnesses, many of them students, testified regarding what Officer Oliva Carvajal called “a scene out of a massacre” and what prosecutors said took just 15 seconds to unfold.

By the time Officer Carvajal of the New York Police Department had responded to the emergency call, blood covered the walls of the fifth-floor classroom and Matthew shuddered for breath outside the door as people inside the classroom crowded around Ariane, tapping his face to keep him from fading away.

Mr. Cedeno, now 19, told Justice Gross last week that the knife, which he purchased on Amazon for $44.89, was meant only to “deter” students he said had bullied him for years because he is gay.
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On that morning in 2017, students in the back of the classroom were throwing crumpled paper and broken pencils, which Mr. Cedeno said he thought were aimed at him. Mr. Cedeno said he confronted the students, which led Matthew to move toward him. Fearing for his life, Mr. Cedeno said, he grabbed his knife, flicked open the blade and “just waited.”

During closing arguments last week, Nancy Borko, the lead prosecutor, said Mr. Cedeno was looking for a fight with “his trusty new knife.”

Matthew’s death, the first homicide in a New York City school in two decades, prompted protests from parents over the lack of metal detectors at a school with a history of violent incidents. Members of the L.G.B.T.Q. the community argued the school should have taken action against those who had bullied a gay student.

Christopher Lynn, one of the defense lawyers, said in closing arguments that Mr. Cedeno “did not attack anyone that day.” Instead, he had tried to de-escalate the onslaught, as he often did, by leaving class in the midst of a pummeling. But when he returned, Mr. Cedeno was hit with debris again, Mr. Lynn said. “He was attacked and never the aggressor,” Mr. Lynn said.

Mr. Lynn and Robert J. Feldman built a defense on the premise that Mr. Cedeno had suffered unchecked taunts in the classroom that drove him to take extreme action.

The two lawyers took the case, pro bono, at the behest of Councilman Rubén Díaz Sr., who has been criticized for making homophobic remarks but who had helped Mr. Cedeno post bail soon after he was charged. Mr. Cedeno lives in Mr. Díaz’s district in the Bronx.

Mr. Feldman framed the proceedings as “a gay-pride trial.” He and Mr. Cedeno often wore matching rainbow heart pins clipped to their lapels. Tom Shanahan, who is representing Mr. Cedeno in a lawsuit against the Department of Education and joined the defense table, also wore rainbow-colored accessories.

The defense’s decision to forgo a jury trial drew criticism. Mr. Feldman explained in an interview ahead of the trial that he did not believe Mr. Cedeno could get a fair jury trial in the Bronx, where he said anti-gay sentiment among African-Americans was high.

Further, Mr. Feldman said, Mr. Cedeno, whose family is from Puerto Rico, could not count on Hispanic support.

But ultimately, the judge determined that Mr. Cedeno, regardless of his sexual orientation and the history of unchecked school bullying, could not provide an account of what happened that day that supported his claim of self-defense. Other students who testified said Mr. Cedeno initiated the fight, and that he was the only person using homophobic slurs that day.

The case sparked strong emotions, as well as extensive litigation.

The defense lawyers and lawyers for the victim’s families regularly held news conferences after each day’s proceedings. During one, defense lawyers suggested that the victims had been gang members, though they provided little evidence to prove it.

Matthew’s mother, Louna Dennis, repeatedly disputed the defense’s assertion that her son was a bully or was prejudiced against gay men. She also said Mr. Cedeno intended to kill her son.

In closing arguments, Mr. Lynn spoke about the violent reputations of both victims.

On Thursday, the defense submitted a photograph of an African-American teenager who was wearing a black bandanna and identified him as the slain student, Matthew. They said the bandanna indicated an affiliation with a local gang. Shortly after, Ms. Dennis took the stand and said the person in the photo was not her son.

“I’m glad I got the chance to say something, to make corrections about some of their errors,” she said after taking the stand. “They perpetrated a lot of lies.”

Later, outside the courthouse, Ms. Dennis labeled the defense’s arguments as “straight racist.”

Sentencing is set for Sept. 10.

August 29, 2018

Nine Yr Old Boy Kills Himself After Enduring Days of Homophobic Bullying

   Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255                                                                     

Jamel Myles killed himself after homophobic bullying at school, his mother said ( CBS )

A nine-year-old boy has taken his own life after enduring four days of homophobic bullying at school, his mother has said. 
Leia Pierce said her son, Jamel Myles, told her over the summer he was gay and wanted to tell his classmates at his school in Denver, Colorado because he was proud of his orientation.
She said Jamel had begun wearing fake fingernails on 20 August, the first day back following the school holiday. Four days later, she found his lifeless body at home. 
The Denver coroner’s office confirmed Jamel died by suicide.
"My child died because of bullying. My baby killed himself,” Mr Pierce told The Denver Post. “He didn’t deserve this. He wanted to make everybody happy even when he wasn’t. I want him back so bad.”
She said Jamel’s eldest sister revealed other children had told the boy to kill himself. 
BBC takes on 'bible bashers' in anti-homophobia video
Counsellors were made available to children, teachers and school staff at Joe Shoemaker Elementary School on Monday, the newspaper reported. 
In a letter sent to families, Denver Public Schools (DPS) said Jamel’s death was an "unexpected loss for our school community". 
The note said: "Our goal is to partner with you in sharing this news with your child in the most appropriate way possible, with as much support as may be needed, so please feel free to reach out about how you want to handle this."
Ms Pierce said that over the summer, Jamel told her he was gay while curled up in the back seat of the family car.
“He was scared because he is a boy and it’s harder on boys when they come out,” Ms Pierce said. “I smiled at him and said I still loved him. This world is missing out.”
She added: “I’m dead inside. He was beautiful. He was magic. I lost my greatest gift.”
For confidential support call Samaritans on 116 123.
In the US, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free on 800-273-8255
You can also contact the following organisations for confidential support:;
More From Another Source:
DENVER – The mother of a 9-year-old Denver boy who committed suicide last week after being bulliedwent on Facebook to ask people to help stop bullying. She had recently learned her son was gay. 
Jamel Myles, died Thursday after being taken to the hospital, according to a report from the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner.
The manner of death was suicide and did not involve a firearm, the report said.
In her public Facebook post, Leia Pierce wrote, "Please we are all the different and thats what makes us the same because we all have 1 thing in common we're all different thats what makes this world beautiful .. i want justice for my son and every kid who is bullied.. i want bullying to end i never want to hear someone else go thru this pain."
In an interview with KUSA-TV in Denver, Pierce said her son had been bullied because he was gay.
According to KDVR-TV in Denver, Myles came out to his mother as gay over the summer. 
"And he looked so scared when he told me. He was like, 'Mom I’m gay.' And I thought he was playing, so I looked back because I was driving, and he was all curled up, so scared. And I said, I still love you," Pierce said, according to KDVR. 
Pierce said Myles wanted to tell his classmates. He was a fourth grade student at Joe Shoemaker School. Classes started Aug. 20, KDVR reported. Myles died Thursday. 
Pierce also wrote in a post: "My son died because of being bullied please tell ur kids to love everyone we all need to love each other."
Shoemaker Principal Christine Fleming sent a letter to parents Friday about Myles' death.
"It is with extreme sadness we share with you that one of our fourth-grade students, passed away yesterday. This is an unexpected loss for our school community," the letter said.
The letter also says Shoemaker staff had not informed students as of Friday afternoon and that, "We are leaving the decision on how this is communicated to your child to your discretion as you know your child best."
The Denver Public School District crisis team and a school social worker were available for students Monday.
"Our thoughts are with the student’s family at this time. We will continue to process this sad news as a school community," the letter says.
On Monday afternoon, the district sent out an updated statement. In it, a spokesperson specifically says all members of the "school community are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or transgender status."
It continued with the following:
"It is critical that our students receive all the supports they need to learn and thrive in a safe and welcoming environment. Our formal policies and practices reflect this commitment to ensuring that our LGBTQ+ students can pursue their education with dignity – from policies and training to prevent and stop bullying to formal policies and guidance materials that fully respect gender identity (including use of preferred pronouns and restrooms).
"Our priority right now is to help all students and adults with the grief they are experiencing and to better understand all the facts surrounding this tragic loss."
Pierce wished she had known about the bullying Myles received.
"I lost a reason to breathe... my heart, my sunshine, my son... he was being bullied and i didnt know. Not till it was to late.. i wish i knew everything so i could've stopped this," Pierce wrote in a Facebook post.
Caitlin Hendee and Jordan Chavez, KUSA-TV, Denver
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

June 22, 2018

NJ School Gets Sued Over A Bullied Girl's Suicide

Photo of Mallory Grossman

The parents of a 12-year-old girl who took her own life are suing the school district in the US state of New Jersey, saying it failed to prevent bullying.
Dianne and Seth Grossman say the school ignored repeated complaints that their daughter was being targeted.
The legal action says Mallory was sent text and Snapchat messages calling her a "loser", making fun of her looks, and prompting her to end her life.
Rockaway Township school district declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Filed on Tuesday, nearly a year after Mallory's death on 14 June 2017, the lawsuit accuses Copeland Middle School of failing to take significant action to prevent bullying.
It alleges that the school's response was to force Mallory to hug one of her alleged bullies, in lieu of disciplinary action, and accuses the school district of discouraging her parents from making a formal complaint.
Photograph of Mallory and her mother

Administrators also suggested she avoid her harassers by eating in an office instead of the lunchroom, the lawsuit alleges.
The school district issued a statement in August of last year saying "the allegation that the Rockaway Township School District ignored the Grossman family and failed to address bullying in general, is categorically false".
The statement also said that school officials had been directed not to comment further on the case.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, the Grossmans' attorney, Bruce Nagel, said complaints to the school had been "terribly ignored" and called smart phones "a lethal weapon in the hands of the wrong child".
"We are hopeful that the filing of this lawsuit will bring national awareness to the epidemic of cyber-bullying and that we do not have to attend any more funerals of students who have been the victims," Mr Nagel said.
Mrs Grossman told News 12 she wanted the school to "care less about test scores and care about the emotional intelligence" of children.
"Instead of removing Mallory from choir class," she said, "I wanted the girls that were tapping her chair every other day and calling her a [expletive] - I wanted those children removed from class. Not Mallory."
The lawsuit is the first cyber-bullying suicide case filed in New Jersey. The families of the group of girls accused of bullying Mallory have been notified that they could face legal action, Mr Nagel said.
School personnel and the township as a whole were also named in the lawsuit for failing to ensure children's safety in a local school.
In a letter posted on the school's website in April, the town's board of education said school superintendent Greg McGann, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, would be "commencing a leave of absence" through 30 June 2018.

How to get help
From Canada or US: If you're in an emergency, please call 911
You can contact the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Test Line by texting HOME to 741741
Young people in need of help can call Kids Help Phone on 1-800-668-6868
If you are in the UK, you can call the Samaritans on 116123

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