Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vicious antigay facebook beatdown at Chillicothe, OH area High School; Union-Scioto's penalty for attacker: 3-day suspension, no expulsion, no call to police

From Equality Ohio:
This week, a 15-year-old teenager was severely beaten in his high school class room for being gay. The attack occurred at Union-Scioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, and was caught on camera as fellow class members watched one teen wait for the victim to enter the room, push him to the ground and continually punch him in the face. Two days prior to the attack, the perpetrator harassed the victim via Facebook regarding his sexual orientation. The victim has suffered a possible concussion and dental damage. The attacker was suspended from school for just three days.

Union-Scioto has no policy in place that specifically protects students from being bullied or attacked based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Union-Scioto Local School District does have a policy that prohibits harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, among others, but it does not specifically protect against harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ohio House Bill 208 would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and other enumerated protections to Ohio’s anti-bullying law without changing the general prohibition against any bullying or harassment.  Research demonstrates that students feel safer and actually are safer in schools that have enumerated anti-bullying policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Proponents of the bill are seeking testimony in the House Education Committee, but the bill has not been a priority of the committee. 

Dwight Garrett, Superintendent
Union-Scioto Local Schools District
Dan Savage has published contact information for the administrators of this high school in his post, "What Does It Take to Get Expelled From Union-Scioto High School?"

The school district's facebook page is here.

WKKJ 94.3 FM recently reported on Unioto High School's initiative to discourage cyber bullying on Wed. Oct. 17th:
Gunderson was at Unioto High School, Wednesday, encouraging students think before they speak or post negative comments: "We don't see the reaction of our victim anymore; we don't see what's happening, so we will put all this out there, we can be anonymous if we want to, and we can hurt people in ways that was never possible before."
     In some cases, cyber bullying has even led to suicide.
     Unioto Guidance Counselor Sara Williams said there are consequences for bullies ranging from a conversation to suspension to legal action.

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