#Bullying

Gay High School Senior Speaks Out About 'Nazi Salute' Prom Pic

Yesterday, Instinct reported on the prom photo that went viral from Baraboo school district in Wisconsin.

The photo appeared to show about 30 male members of the Baraboo High School Class of 2019 giving the Nazi salute before their junior prom last spring.

The photo, taken on the Sauk County Courthouse steps, includes nearly 50 male students, though not all are holding their arms outstretched. 

 

As noted yesterday, one student was not having the moment.

Eighteen-year-old Jordan Blue can be seen in the top right of the photo with his arms down, his face showing only a neutral expression while most of his classmates are pictured laughing.

CBS This Morning spoke with Blue about the internet controversy.

The high school senior tells CBS This Morning the photographer came up with the idea of telling the boys to "wave goodbye to their parents," but didn't specifically tell the boys to “raise your hand in a Nazi symbol way.”

It's interesting that 'raise you hand' to these young men meant doing so in Nazi fashion.

Blue added that he felt his classmates did understand what the symbol represented, and that the moment was "scary" and "uncomfortable."

Photographer Peter Gust has issued a statement which reads, "I didn't tell them to salute anything... it was waving goodbye to their parents, having a good time."

"There was nothing that diminished the quality of anyone's life," said Gust in defense of the photo. "There was nothing that diminished anyone's stature in society, there was nothing that was intended to point a finger at anyone in their class who may have some kind of difference. There was none of that."

Blue admits making the gesture makes no sense to him, saying, "Some of these people have bright futures ahead of them, so why’d they do it?”

Speaking to CNN, Blue says if he'd known the direction the photo opp would go, he wouldn't have taken part in the pics at all.

“I knew what my morals were, and it was not to salute something I firmly didn’t believe in,” he said.

He also says that while the community is a 'phenomenal' place to live, people are "hurt and very distraught" over the scandal. And he makes a point to say the photo doesn't represent Baraboo as a whole.

 

 

Blue, who came out as gay earlier this year, shared with Vice reporter Jules Suzdaltsev yesterday that he's been the target of bullying by these boys since middle school.

Suzdaltsev later tweeted that, after receiving more than 100 messages from students and parents from Baraboo High School, "nearly all of the stories echo the same basic theme: the community as a whole has a lot of casual & jokey racism, homophobia, and transphobia that is accepted as a part of life."

"The school (and other schools in the area) do little to nothing to address these issues," he added.

The American Defamation League reports the number of anti-semitic incidents in the U.S. rose 57% in 2017. That's the largest single year increase on record.

 

(h/t CNN, CBS This Morning)

Wisconsin High School Boys Throw Full-On 'Sig Heil' In Prom Photo

Folks are kind of flummoxed by a photo taken at the junior prom of Wisconsin's Baraboo High School showing the class's male students doing a 'sig heil.'

Law & Crime points out the event was last spring, but the photo just came to light when it was posted to the Twitter account @GoBaraboo that has since been been made private.

It was shared with the caption, “We even got the black kid to throw it up #BarabooProud.”

 

 

One guy in the front was clearly doing the sign for white power:

 

 

Vice contributor Jules Suzdaltsev asked Twitter to help him do a deep dive into the matter, and he began getting private messages from students at the school saying they had seen and heard a lot of racist language while attending the school.

 

 

 

 

One student who graduated from BHS this spring wrote Suzdaltsev saying he could "100% support the claims of racism at that school."

"The use of the n-word was pretty common among a lot of white students, whether jokingly or not," he added.

Another told Suzdaltsev that the day after Donald Trump was elected, students were yelling "White Power!" in the hallways.

Folks did note that one student, in the upper right hand corner of the photo, was clearly not having the moment.

Suzdaltsev spoke with the student, who says his name is Jordan Blue, who said the photo was taken so quickly he couldn't leave. But he also shared that he'd been bullied by his classmates for years.

"My name is Jordan Blue, I am the boy captured in the photo to the far right. The photo was taken during our Junior Prom Photos. I clearly am uncomfortable, with what was happening. I couldn't leave the photo as it was taken within 5 seconds. The photographer took the photos telling us to make the sign, I knew what my morals were and it not to salute something I firmly didn't believe in. I attend BHS, these classmates have bullied me since entering middle school, I have struggled with it my entire life and nothing has changed. These are the boy of Class of 2019, nothing has been done and my question is... with anything ever be done. I truly & firmly believe we need to make a change to this horrible act, it need to stop. Bullying. Immaturity. And just taking things as a "joke"..."

 

 

According to Suzdaltsev, the photographer (identified as local motorcycle photographer Peter Gust) has taken the photo album down from his website and issued an odd message calling out "malevolent behavior on the part of some in society." He seems to be blaming the scandal on folks taking issue with the idea of telling students to do a Nazi salute.

The photo has even received international attention as the Twitter account for the Auschwitz Memorial tweeted, "This is why every single day we work hard to educate."

 

 

Baraboo School District Superintendent Dr. Lori Mueller issued this statement:

 

The Barabook School District sent the following letter to parents this morning in response to a photo on social media.

Dear Parents/Guardians of Baraboo School District Students:

Early this morning, a photo that was taken last spring of some Barabook School District students who appear to be making extremely inappropriate gestures began circulating on social media. The District has confirmed at this time that the photo was not taken on school property or at a school-sponsored event.

The school district is investigating this situation and is working with parents, staff and local authorities. If the gesture is what it appears to be, the district will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address the issue.

With that, we want to be very clear: the Baraboo School District is a hate-free environment where all people, regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ancestry, are respected and celebrated.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori Mueller, Superintendent

(h/t Madison.com)

High School Student Left with Black Eye, Broken Nose Because People Thought he Was Gay

A Pensacola, Florida high school student was recently attacked and suffered a black eye and a broken nose. The reason? According to Pink News, his classmate thought that he was gay because he's a dancer. Regardless of whether he's gay or not (he doesn't identify as gay), there is no excuse for anyone to assault someone other than self-defense. 

Jaiden Muniz-Walls was the victim of the attack which took place in a classroom by his fellow classmate who has not been identified. Muniz-Walls did not fight back but instead put his arms up to defend himself. He was attacked because of his interest in dancing which made his classmate assume that he's gay. His attacker has been faced with a misdemeanor assault charge, but Jaiden's mother thinks that it is not enough. She wants to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again, as she recognizes that there may be some students in the Pensacola school who are gay and are afraid to admit it because of the fear of being assaulted. 

It's no secret that LGBTQ people (and perceived LGBTQ people) are disproportionately affected by violence, as the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs states that in 2017 there was an 86% increase in hate violence from 2016. In addition to that, Randy Slovacek has written about how schools are still unsafe for LGBTQ people in his post "Survey Shows Progress For LGBTQ High Schoolers Is Slowing Down." Other studies have shown that teachers who identify as LGBT are also subject to hate. It's a sad reality but a reality that we all live in. 

However, this sad reality doesn't have to exist. Educating people on LGBTQ topics is a good place to start, and once that has been taught, perhaps we should teach people to be mindful of other's interests to prevent things like this from happening again. 


h/t: Pink NewsNational Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

Get Your Purple On For Spirit Day 2018 - Stand Up Against LGBTQ Bullying

Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ bullying and standing with LGBTQ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities.

Pledging to "go purple" on Spirit Day is a way for everyone — forward-thinking companies, global leaders, respected celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.

The first observance took place on Wednesday, October 20, 2010. Later observances were held on Thursday, October 20, 2011 and Friday, October 19, 2012 before the tradition of the third Thursday of October was established in 2013.

The name "Spirit Day" comes from the purple stripe of the Rainbow flag, whose creator Gilbert Baker defined it as "representing 'spirit'".

As anti-LGBTQ policies, hate crimes, and harassment are on the rise, it is now especially important to let all marginalized youth know they are supported.

This year, Spirit Day is on October 18, 2018. Take the Spirit Day pledge to show LGBTQ youth you've got their backs at glaad.org/spiritday.

Follow @GLAAD on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.

 

 

 

Gay Wisconsin Student Sues School District For Failing To Protect Him From Bullying

A gay teenager from Wisconsin is suing his school district for failing to protect him from bullying.

According to Journal Sentinel, 19-year-old Guadalupe Paredes has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Kenosha Unified School District for violating his Title IX and 14th Amendment rights to equal protection.

This is the second time that the school district has been sued for not protecting an LGBTQ student. The first time was earlier this year when the district settled by paying $800,000 to a transgender student who had faced discrimination in the district.

Now, Paredes has stepped forward to say that school district has wronged him in his right to an education.

According to Paredes, he started getting bullied as early as the third grade. The amount of said bullying was so bad that he was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the fifth grade.

The suit says that Paredes tried to seek help from the administration at Edward Bain School of Language and Art, but was ignored by the assistant principal, Ron Sandoval. The principal then later told Paredes to leave Sandoval alone as he “did not feel comfortable with Plaintiff’s kind.”

Unfortunately, the bullying only continued. One harasser not only attacked Paredes privately by telling the victim he should kill himself while in the school’s bathroom, but the harasser also posted the same statement on Facebook.

Paredes’s mother also got involved and tried to get help from the district’s staff, but one school official told her that Guadalupe brought the bullying on himself by “acting gay and telling other students he was gay.”

Once at Reuther Central High School, Paredes stopped reporting harassment and bullying because he thought it wasn’t worth it. With his growing depression, Paredes’s grades dropped and he was later hospitalized.

Paredes then transferred to a different high school, but eventually dropped out.

Again, Paredes is suing the school district for failing to protect him and give him an equal opportunity to learn.

The court cause continues.

h/t: Journal Sentinel

"Stranger Things" Actress Millie Bobby Brown Off Twitter Following Homophobic Memes

Well, it looks like the Internet [and maybe humanity] has reached a new low. Mere days after Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran was cyber-bullied into removing all her Instagram posts,  Emmy-nominated Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, 14, has deleted her Twitter in the wake of a bizarre and really sick string of harassment, including homophobic memes.

Disturbed minds in the dark corners of the universe have been spreading memes and Twitter stories with outrageously slanderous [FALSE] information about the actress, and the hashtag #TakeMillieBobbyBrownDown was tossed around.

Many of the misleading memes and tweets insinuated Brown is homophobic. We aren’t sharing links or screen caps or anything of these because, again, there is absolutely no evidence to support any of them.

There is myriad evidence to suggest they’re all bogus though. Brown has repeatedly spoken in support of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and against bullying.

As if fake news, “fake news,” and cowardly cyber-terror weren’t enough of a problem already. This should be a firm reminder to always be really, really careful about what you read on the Internet. Always check the source. I

Though Brown’s main Twitter handle has been removed, her verified handle @MillieStopsHate is still active.

Any and all reasonable human beings should be in Millie’s corner. This is a 14-year-old girl, and she’s the victim of some truly disturbing cyber attacks. If any of this was ever intended to be a joke, it couldn't be less funny.

We’ll conclude with some tweets about the whole ordeal that actually make some sense:

For more information: http://www.newsweek.com/millie-bobby-brown-cyberbullied-twitter-delete-978064

Teens Who Choked Student Into "Apologizing" For Being Gay Only Get Slap On The Wrist

Two teens in the UK, who choked a student during a Tube ride in London until he “apologized” for being gay, have basically walked out of court with a slap on the wrist.

Will Mayrick, 20, says he feared for his life after two attackers grabbed him in a headlock, squeezing the breathe out of him, during an evening out with four of his friends.

The photography student today said the hideous ordeal might never have happened if the teenage perpetrators had undergone LGBT education classes at school.

Mayrick told the press that the Government needs to make LGBT studies a requirement. “It’s clear that there needs to be a better support network in schools,” he told the Evening Standard.

In the end, both attackers (aged 16 and 17) were given 12-month referral orders and each ordered to pay fines of about $27 for "victim surcharge" and $200 for "compensation."

After the sentencing, Mayrick withheld judgement of his assailants saying, “They were so young, and I can’t help but think that if they had had some sort LGBT education then the attack might never have happened.”

According to a recent study by Stonewall,  55% of secondary school teachers and 42% of primary school teachers say they don’t stand up to homophobic language every time they hear it.

Additionally, 86% of secondary school teachers and 45% of primary school teachers polled said students in their schools had experienced homophobic bullying.

Oklahoma Police Are Investigating An Assault On A Gay Middle Schooler

A seventh-grade student in Oklahoma says he was attacked because he’s gay.

A video was released of a boy by the name of Blake being assaulted in the hallways of Highland West middle school in Moore, Oklahoma.

Coming forward later to speak on it, Blake shares that the attack was sudden and random.

"All of a sudden, I felt something hit my face then hit my head against the locker," Blake shared.

But, of course, the mother of the alleged bully is ready to defend her child.

"This kid called (my son) a rapist, and basically my son just snapped," said Rachael Clymer, the alleged bully's mother. "It is not okay that he physically snapped, but he didn't just go the school, and walk up to the kid and hit this child for no reason. He had been verbally attacked for months."

She also added:

"I think that is absolutely ridiculous. [He] has grown up with three family members who are gay, and that's - no, absolutely not."

Oklahoma’s News 4 reached out to local police who said that Clymer’s son was officially cited for assault on March 8 and that they are continuing to investigate.

On top of that, Blake’s parents are persistent that their son’s attacker should receive punishment.

Blake’s father, Chad Presley, told News4, “Your heart sinks. You feel for him. It's one of the most painful things, as a parent, to go through."

But, it seems that the school is stalling on getting involved because the Clymer boy is autistic and in the individualized education program.

"It shouldn't matter what the child - whether you have IEP or anything, there should be zero tolerance for that," said Brandy Miner, Blake's mother.

h/t: Oklahoma’s News 4