This is a failure in our culture including families, religion, commerce, Schools. Why in this day and age in which even have a gay man married to another man running for President. I know after Trump the job is not as important as it used to be but President is better than a king. Of course, there is more to the story than just being out but the manner in which this young guy was outed. His friend showed pictures breaking his confidence and trust and now felt, wrongly that he had no good life left. Adolescents tend to exaggerate most things, I know because I was one. We don't know better, have not been there, do not know that most things settled down and passed after a few days. What also gets me is then in this age of fast communications of cell phones and computers he felt there was no one to help. We need to print this because we need to keep telling the gay and straight worlds that this is still happening. Those so-called religious people that put this sexual orientation down that they have their finger in the soup also. They have responsibility for this whether they decide to take it and do something about it or keep ignoring it and blame it on suicide as an end result of A life.
The family and classmates of a Tennessee high school student who killed himself after being outed online as bisexual have demanded that the school and state authorities investigate and prosecute those responsible, calling it a case of “social media bullying.”
The student, Channing Smith, a 16-year-old junior at Coffee County Central High School in Manchester, Tenn., took his own life on Sept. 23 after sexually explicit text messages that he had exchanged with a male classmate were posted on social media, according to his family.
“He was absolutely humiliated,” his older brother, Joshua Smith, said by phone on Monday, describing the messages as “very explicit.”
“There was no way he could have gone to school afterward,” he added.
A few hours later, Channing shot and killed himself, his brother said. In Channing’s final post on Instagram, he said, “I really hate how I can’t trust anyone because those I did were so fake.”
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In the days since students at the school have set up a Facebook group called “Justice for Channing” and organized a rally where attendees wore homemade T-shirts with that slogan. Dozens gathered on Sunday for a memorial service where the country singer Billy Ray Cyrus performed “Amazing Grace” and rode Channing’s motorcycle. On Instagram, the actress Lili Reinhart said the story “breaks” her heart.
Channing Smith, a high school junior, killed himself after he was outed as gay when his texts with a male classmate were posted to social media. Channing's older brother said he was "beyond disappointed" with the school's handling of the case. (https://nyti.ms/2n3Q5iH)
Channing’s mother, Crystal Smith, addressed a crowd at one of the vigils, according to the local television station WTVF. “Just because you think it’s cute or funny to make somebody embarrassed or humiliate them, think again,” she said. “Because if somebody would have realized that, my son would not be dead.”
Saying he was “beyond disappointed” with the school’s handling of the case, Joshua Smith argued that administrators had tamped down students’ attempts to call attention to Channing’s death, and he noted that state officials had not brought criminal charges against anyone in the case.
Charles Lawson, the director of the Coffee County Schools, said in a statement that the school district was “not at liberty to make any statements concerning the matter at this time.”
“A legal investigation is being conducted that involves some of our students,” he said.
Dr. Lawson added: “Counseling was provided at the school for students and staff who were struggling with what occurred. The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network has reached out to provide resources for those that are dealing with this difficult situation.”
The Coffee County district attorney, Craig Northcott, denied that his office had “failed or refused” to investigate the matter.
“I, like the rest of the community, am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the young life of Channing Smith,” Mr. Northcott said in a statement.
“My office has encouraged, cooperated in and supported the investigation into the events leading to this death,” he added. “Ethically, I am prohibited from commenting on an open investigation or prosecution.”
“When all relevant facts are available,” Mr. Northcott said, “my office will advise the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department on what charges if any, we believe are appropriate to help guide it in that decision.”
A call to the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department was not immediately returned on Monday.
In June, local news outlets reported that state authorities were investigating Mr. Northcott in part because he had refused to prosecute domestic violence cases involving same-sex couples.
Channing’s death underscores the challenges of combating cyberbullying, which has proliferated in recent years. According to a report last year from the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of teenagers said they had been bullied or harassed online — and many of them thought teachers, social media companies and politicians were failing to help.
In schools across the country, L.G.B.T. students are more likely to be bullied and experience depression than their straight peers, studies have found.
Joshua Smith, who lives in Kentucky with his wife and two children, described his brother as “the sweetest kid on earth.” At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, he often poked fun at his own clumsiness before others could.
“He was a band kid,” Joshua said, “so he wasn’t known as a football stud.”
Channing played the guitar and the bass could play “Amazing Grace” on the tuba and loved to sing.
Joshua said he had been unaware that his brother was romantically involved with boys. He said investigators had told him Channing’s messages with the other boy were leaked on Instagram and Snapchat.
At one of the memorial services, Joshua said: “I can assure you that your school hopes you forget, your town hopes that you forget, right, they’re going to hope that this goes away,” adding, “But we’re not going to let that happen.”
He said his mission was to bring justice to the parties responsible for Channing’s death and to make changes so that “no human on this earth will have to die this way again.”
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.
Susan C. Beachy contributed research.