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Indiana Gay Teen Faces Expulsion From School For Carrying A Stun Gun To Protect Himself From Bullies

Darnell “Dynasty” Young  a teen-aged gay student at Tech High School in Indianapolis, Indiana is facing expulsion for carrying a stun gun to school that his mother gave him to protect himself bullies because the school cannot

According to the Indianapolis Star Darnell’s troubles started when he moved from Arizon to Indianapolis to live with his mother:

When he arrived at the new school, his new classmates were more confrontational. His outgoing personality made stand out from the other students. Even some of the other gay students were unfriendly, he said.

They cursed at him in the school hallways and taunted him with homophobic slurs.

They followed him home from his bus stop and threatened to beat him up.

One night, as he walked home from his after-school job, they threw rocks at him.

“All day I’d be on my guard,” he said. “It never got better. It always got worse.”

Young broke down in tears when a rumor circulated that he performed sex acts in the bathrooms. He said he thought about committing suicide.

When Darnell and his mother made bullying complaints to the the school than 10 times, but Tech High did not formally investigate any of their complaints except for one.

Danell’s mother called the school about students following him home from the bus stop, but school officials said they could not do anything since the students were not on school property and when  she complained other times Larry Yarrell, the Tech principal, said school staff said they would try to help Darnell and suggested that  “tone down” his accessories.

In response Darnell’s mother gave him a stun gun for protection because she says she feared for his safety and says she would never have given him a real gun or a knife:

The small weapons come in a range of voltages. They do not shoot bullets but give an electric shock that temporarily incapacitates people. Unlike Tasers, they don’t have barbs that shoot out of the gun and embed in people’s flesh. Instead, the shooter must place the gun on or close to people to shock them. They’re not considered deadly under Indiana law, but they are not allowed on school property.

One day, when the bullies threatened him again, he pulled it out and fired it in the air. School officials were then alerted that he had it, and Darnell now faces expulsion from the school..

Why are the victims always punished for defending themselves, but nothing ever happens to the bullies?

In the Midwest and other heavily socially conservative states, this is the mentality. It is not bullying that is the issue, it’s gay people. If you were less of a queer, you wouldn’t get bullied, and that’s essentially what the staff at Tech High said to Darnell and his mother and passively gives the bullies permission to harass Dynasty.

It’s the mentality behind the Don’t Say Gay bills, behind the paranoia about marriage equality, and the fear of teaching gay history in schools.

Its stories like this that point to the real problem in LGBT teen bullying cases.  And that is that its  not only the bullies themselves that are to blame but also the adults in their lives, their parents, and in some cases their schools that exasperate the bully epidemic by turning a blind eye and blaming the victim instead of the criminals and they too should be held into account and punished accordingly.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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