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

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

October 29, 2017

If People Were to Step Down When Bullying Occurs it Would Completely Eliminate It

Why don't People Step down when they see bullying?

One of the best ways to stop bullying in its tracks — apart from, of course, not doing it, and teaching your children not to do it either — is for a bystander to step in when it is safe to do so and diffuse the situation. The practice, called bystander intervention, can be as simple as engaging the person being bullied in such a way that it cuts off the person doing the bullying, or firmly telling the aggressor to stop. Not everyone, however, is willing to intervene on behalf of others, and new research is trying to figure out why. A study from scientists at the State University of New York found that heterosexual people don't step in when they see anti-gay bullying if they don't believe that LGBTQ people face discrimination in general.
That (erroneous) belief — that LGBTQ people don't face discrimination — is called "amnestic heterosexism," and it's a concept that was developed by the theorist N. Eugene Walls, an associate professor at the University of Denver specializing in modern prejudice theory. According to Walls, there are four other categories that make up homophobia as a whole, and they run the gamut from stereotyping gay and lesbian people (positive stereotype heterosexism) to violent anti-gay sentiment (hostile heterosexism). All of these aspects of homophobia privilege being straight over being gay, and invalidate queer identity and relationships, whether overtly or not. 

 Amnestic heterosexism in particular, comes from the word amnesia, or clinical memory loss. These are people who don't believe that homophobia still exists, that queer people face discrimination or inequality, and that documented examples of discrimination are just misunderstandings, or only happen to a small minority. The SUNY scientists were interested in whether belief in anti-gay discrimination influenced anti-gay bullying, so they took 238 undergraduates, all of whom were straight, and asked them questions to determine how many aspects of amnestic heterosexism they believed in. They then posed a hypothetical bullying situation in which someone was called an anti-gay slur.

"As expected," the scientists wrote, "those with greater AH [amnestic heterosexist] beliefs perceived the situation as less severe/dangerous, felt less personally responsible to intervene, and were more blaming toward the target of bullying. In multivariate analyses, AH was indirectly associated with intent to confront the perpetrator via a path of reduced personal responsibility." In other words, if they didn't believe that inequality in the LGBTQ community was a problem, they found ways to excuse themselves from intervening, saw it as much less serious than other kinds of bullying, or even blamed the person being bullied 

This has big implications, because bullying and mistreatment against LGBTQ folks remain problems with severe consequences, whether or not the amnestic heterosexists think so. Studies by the Human Rights Campaign have found that LGBTQ youth in America are twice as likely as straight youth to be called names or be physically harassed at school. It's a pervasive issue: a 2007 study by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education network found that 87 percent of non-heterosexual respondents had experienced bullying at school. And that's just in school; the harassment and bullying experiences of LGBTQ people can stretch to any part of life, from walking down the street to interactions with coworkers, acquaintances or family. One in six lesbian, bisexual or gay people has experienced a biphobic or homophobic hate crime in the last three years and a quarter hide their status in public to avoid harassment, according to the LGBTQ advocacy group Stonewall.

The way to deal with people who don't believe anti-gay discrimination is a thing? Facts. While they may believe in a world that we all would love to see come true, it's out of touch with what actually happens — and that makes them less effective allies when they see anti-LGBTQ injustice, because their prejudices make them less capable of seeing it. The rose-colored glasses need to come off.

October 24, 2017

Students Rally Against The Bullying of A Classmate in a Maine H.S.

YORK, Maine.... Parents and students at York High School are calling for the community to work together to fight bullying after they say a gay student was targeted. 
Dozens of students rallied across the street from the school Monday morning with signs saying 'Be Kind' and 'You Are Beautiful,' and other statements of acceptance and encouragement. 
York High School students and their parents say the bullying of a gay student has been brought to the attention of the school administrators, but that not enough has been done to stop it.  
      Violence is never an acceptable solution to a conflict. All students should feel safe at York High School and we hold that as a priority. There is a very difficult balance a school administrator must take the communication of details and the rights of students' and families' to privacy.  I can not and will not speak to specific details. What I can offer, is that the information currently circulating through the school community is not an accurate representation of a tragic event.
We have dedicated the day to listen to students and look forward to working alongside them to ensure that all students feel welcome, safe and supported at York High School.  This morning's rally signified a statement of unity and respect for all York students. Students told NEWS CENTER they are not just rallying against the bullying of this one student, but of any student facing bullying. The York students also say they are standing in support of LGBTQ acceptance. 

through the years the people she went to school with have reached out and apologized for how she was treated back in high school, but she maintains she has never heard from any school officials...
One former York High School student says this situation is all too familiar to her because it was exactly the same for her, decades ago. Kera Ireland says she actually dropped out of high school her senior year and was robbed of things like graduating with her friends and going to prom, all because nobody at the school was willing to help stop her from being bullied.
"It was a lot of mixed emotions part of me was so joyful and so excited so inspired by these teenagers that were out there today. Supporting a fellow student. Standing up for what they believed was right and that making fun of people annoying people is not acceptable. But the one thing is is that the school never apologized for taking away from me something that would have meant a lot. That is the most hurtful thing. Being a member of the community school system from second grade, they didn't care about me"

Kera did mention that through the years the people she went to school with have reached out and apologized for how she was treated back in high school, but she maintains she has never heard from any school officials... 

May 26, 2017

What To Do If You Re Being Bullied at Work Because of Who You Are

(Orinally published on VICE)

Peter Bryan Torres worked happily at a prominent New York City museum for ten years – one that you and your family have probably visited. But that all changed after a new boss came into the picture and found out Torres was HIV positive after an incident forced him to miss work and become hospitalized.
From then on, he says, it was slamming doors, banging cabinets, and dramatically inching up against the wall when Torres walked past to indicate that he was someone “at risk for infection.” All of this, in addition to making discriminatory comments. When Human Resources allegedly failed to look into and address the matter, he decided to take legal action. His lawyers at The Harman Firm LLP say that Torres’s lawsuit is, unfortunately, just one of many workplace discrimination cases they’re handling this year. One of the firm’s lawyers, Edgar Rivera, says that while our awareness of discrimination is, in general, much higher today than it was a few years ago, and young people especially are tuned in to pick up on unequal treatment.
The changing nature of the workplace and the continued struggle for people to hold onto the human and civil rights they’ve gained in recent years leads us to believe that we need more information on how to best navigate and protect our rights in the workplace, and how we can take action to address any sort of harassment or mistreatment on the premise of one’s sexual orientation or identity. There is no law prohibiting a person from having racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted opinions, and no law exists that requires an employee to believe that all people are equal or deserve equal rights, or to punish people for having prejudiced or backwards beliefs about racial minorities, women, people with disabilities, gay people, transgender people, or any other group that anti-discrimination statutes protect. “The law only prohibits an employer acting on those biases, whether in making employment decisions, for example, the decision to fire or demote an employee, or in their treatment of employees,” Rivera said. “In other words, as far as employment discrimination laws are concerned, people are legally free to be as racist, sexist, or homophobic as they want to be in their homes or elsewhere: they just can’t bring it into the office.” Jerame Davis, Executive Director of Pride at Work in Washington, DC. says that lawmakers often claim LGBTQ harassment and discrimination do not exist, because “so few people who are subject to these things end up speaking out.” In 1999, Davis says, he and two other men were fired for being gay, and happened to live in one of only four cities in Indiana at the time that had protections against LGBTQ discrimination. Due to state law, however, compliance was voluntary. There is no law prohibiting a person from having racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted opinions, and no law exists that requires an employee to believe that all people are equal or deserve equal rights.
“When the company refused to acknowledge our complaint, rather than walk away, we fought back. We waged one of the first online campaigns for social justice, which we won, becoming the first, and possibly still the only, LGBTQ discrimination case settled for a monetary award in the state of Indiana,” Davis said. However, the agreement they signed included what Davis calls a gag order that prevented them from discussing the case for years—ultimately, until the company went out of business. “The other thing that happens is that so many people just don’t want to talk about their experience. It’s usually embarrassing to folks to admit they were discriminated against or harassed. Not only do you have to come out as LGBTQ in a public fashion, but you may also have to admit you were fired from your job. That’s a tough hurdle for many people,” Davis said. For reasons like this one, Rivera advises that if you experience discrimination in the workplace, you bring it to your employer’s attention and take care of yourself by seeking professional help to treat mental and emotional wellness. “Just like after a car accident, the best advice is to seek treatment immediately. Experiencing discrimination and harassment is incredibly difficult; it can be extremely stressful, emotionally exhausting, and even traumatic,” he says, “You just don’t know how you may be affected until much later, and you can prevent a lot of harm by catching things early.” Even before that,though, he cautions people to read over their contracts carefully.
“People are always excited to start new jobs and often ignore the mountain of documents received during onboarding. They shouldn’t. These documents often include essential information about how to deal with discrimination and harassment.” Even in unionized workplaces with strong nondiscrimination and anti-harassment protections, LGBTQ discrimination still happens frequently; recently, the most pervasive issue his organization has been seeing is contention over bathroom access for those who are gender non-conforming. In fact, Davis says, only 19 states, the District of Columbia, and a number of cities and counties have put up protections for LGBTQ working people in place.
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“For some reason, there are a lot of people who are totally onboard with nondiscrimination in housing, employment, and even public accommodations, like being served at restaurants and retail stores, but when the question of bathroom access is brought up, they are adamantly opposed to protecting a person’s right to use the bathroom that best fits their gender identity,” Davis said.
The other issue that is unfortunately prevalent, he says, is harassment in the form of anti-LGBTQ comments or “jokes” at the expense of queer folks, and inappropriate questions. “In many cases, even with employers who offer appropriate protections, managers will neglect to intervene when an LGBTQ employee is being harassed or bullied,” he said. “I would be wary working for any company in 2017 that doesn’t explicitly list sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.”
If you’re already actively working in a specific position, he says, be sure to document anything that doesn’t feel right, and do it in writing, with as much detail as you can – including with whom you’ve spoke, what the content and context of the conversation was, how you feel you were mistreated, the names of any witnesses, and, of course, time and date. “If an employee doesn’t complain about discrimination, then, as far as the employer is concerned, it isn’t happening. It’s amazing what people will conveniently manage to ‘forget’ about witnessing after a lawsuit is filed,” he said. “And while an employee might think that his or her coworkers will stand up and testify about discriminatory conduct, the fact is that many employees aren’t willing to risk their jobs by doing so and will simply say whatever their employer tells them to.” Despite how far we may have come, it seems that the times are indeed lending themselves to a backwards crawl into ignorance and intolerance, even in the most liberal of cities. Then, you must decide if and when the time is right to take action: next steps will depend greatly on state and local law, company policy, and any existing contract language. “If the situation progresses and management refuses to address the situation, you have very limited options going forward,” Davis says. “Once you speak up about a situation, you should be prepared to leave your position, either voluntarily or involuntarily. In cases of harassment, for example, it’s often the case that one party or the other separates from the employer. It’s not always the victim who gets to stay. However, sometimes, the situation you’re up against is affecting others in the workplace similarly.” Despite how far we may have come, it seems that the times are indeed lending themselves to a backwards crawl into ignorance and intolerance, even in the most liberal of cities.
Barbara Belmont , a volunteer at the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals in New York City, says that despite working in a state where it is illegal to discriminate against
people for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, she has recently witnessed displays of hate. And even though harassment and bullying in the workplace is less common these days, she says many young people are still afraid to be “out” at work. “Well-intended people in positions of power have warned them to ‘be careful.’ I say, bring your whole true self to the table,” Belmont said. “Let your coming out happen organically or make an announcement, or find a way to come out in your job interview to test the water. If you don’t get hired because you are LGBTQ, did you really want to work there anyway?” Her best suggestion for protection is to use the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index to discover which of the larger companies have the best ratings, seek employment with companies with inclusive Equal Employment Opportunity policies, Employee Resource Groups for LGBTQ people, trans-inclusive insurance benefits, and a corporate culture committed to diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, Rivera says, if your employer doesn’t adequately address a complaint about discrimination, speak to a lawyer who specializes in plaintiff’s-side employment law; every case is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution: you have to obtain specific and personalized advice. “When someone is sick, they know that they should go to a doctor and that searching Google or WebMD isn’t going to accurately diagnose the problem. People should view getting legal advice in much the same way,” he said. “It’s not enough to talk to your aunt the divorce lawyer. Go speak to a lawyer who specializes in this work, the sooner the better. It’s amazing the amount of comfort you’ll get from a 30-minute consultation with a professional who is experienced in employment discrimination law.”

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