Bullying | Gay Youth | Indiana | News

Indiana Teen Commits Suicide After Anti-Gay Bullying at School


Tragic news to report from Indiana. Like Jaheem Herrera, Carl Walker-Hoover, and Eric Mohat, 15-year-old Billy Lucas' suicide appears to have been inspired by anti-gay bullying at school.

Reports local station WXIN:

"The 15-year-old never told anyone he was gay but students at Greensburg High School thought he was and so they picked on him. 'People would call him 'fag' and stuff like that, just make fun of him because he's different basically,' said student Dillen Swango. Students told Fox59 News it was common knowledge that children bullied Billy and from what they said, it was getting worse. Last Thursday, Billy's mother found him dead inside their barn. He had hung himself. Students said on that same day, some students told Billy to kill himself. 'They said stuff like 'you're like a piece of crap' and 'you don't deserve to live.' Different things like that. Talked about how he was gay or whatever,' said Swango."

News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

WTHR reports:

"Friends of Lucas say that he had been tormented for years. 'Some people at school called him names,' Hughes said, saying most of those names questioned Lucas' sexual orientation, and that Lucas, for the most part, did little to defend himself. 'He would try to but people would just try to break him down with words and stuff and just pick on him,' Hughes said."

A memorial to Billy has gone up on Facebook.

Watch WXIN's report, interviews with students, and a statement from suicide prevention group The Trevor Project, AFTER THE JUMP...


Statement by Charles Robbins, Executive Director of The Trevor Project, in response to the recent death of Billy Lucas, who died by suicide as a result of ongoing school bullying in Greensburg, IN:

"We are saddened to once again hear of another young person who died of suicide as a result of school bullying. Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old at Greensburg High School stood out among the 630 students in the school because he was different. Other students perceived that Billy was gay and he was relentlessly tormented as a result.

While the school district does have anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, the policies do not specifically protect youth from harassment due to real or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression. Only eleven states in the country offer fully inclusive anti-harassment and anti-bullying education policies, and Indiana is not among them.

Currently, there is no national standard to protect all of our children from bullying and harassment at school. Yet, we know that as many as 1 in 10 sexual minority youth have been physically assaulted at school, and that when youth are threatened or get into fights, or have property stolen at school, their risk of attempting suicide more than doubles. That is why The Trevor Project supports fully inclusive federal legislation, like the Safe Schools Improvement Act currently under consideration in the Senate, to offer the protections all of our children need from torment and ridicule at school, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Only with an enforceable national standard that offers resources and support to educators and staff, no matter the size of a school district, will we be able to prevent future tragedies like Greensburg High School has experienced. The death of Billy Lucas is a tragedy, and one that might have been prevented if his school district had the support of a fully inclusive anti-harassment and anti-bullying law."

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  1. As a mother...I am just heartbroken when I see his picture. There is this pang you get because you want to protect kids--even if they aren't your own. If something like that ever happened to my child I would want to rip someone to pieces!

    Every day I do a point check with my kids about how they are being treated. There is a boy at their school (gay) and picked on and when I taught there I made sure that fake rumors were started to make him appear cooler than he was (which he thanked me for later).

    Kids will pick pick pick at a kid for whatever reason, be it gay or maybe someone remembered they peed their pants in kindergarten. It's hideous. If my kids were picked on they would get pulled from the school and moved ASAP.

    My sincere prayers go out to his parents and I hope all of those kids know they have blood on their hands--even the ones that stood by and did nothing.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 14, 2010 8:09:39 AM

  2. No Principle - its what you did NOT do,......in your Hick Southern Bigoted town....Pathetic. No kid should be made to feel isolated...ever.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Sep 14, 2010 8:11:01 AM

  3. What could you do that could have made a difference in his life?

    Do your fucking job as a disciplinarian at that school and, despite the additions or subtractions of perceived or actual sexual orientation in your anti-bullying guidelines, punish harassment. Period.

    The fact that harassment is allowed because a part of his bullying is based on the perception of his sexual orientation is completely intolerable, and that man, that principle, should be held responsible.

    Those bullies questioned his worth. Told him that he should kill himself. Those are violent words that extend beyond gay issues that, in themselves, aren't acceptable in a place of learning.

    Principles and teachers shouldn't be enabling bullies to participate in society in this way. It's disgusting, and those people should feel ashamed of themselves.


    Posted by: JonBenet | Sep 14, 2010 8:18:03 AM

  4. And the younger generation is becoming soooo tolerant. Yeah, right. And disgusted American, Indiana isn't even in the south, it is the midwest. Homophobia exists everywhere in this country. In NC we enacted one of the first and only anti-bullying laws in the nation that has become a model to stop tragedies like this. By perpetuating stereotypes that this kind of thing only happens in "other" places is detrimental to the safety of all of our children.

    Posted by: gaylib | Sep 14, 2010 8:19:19 AM

  5. Umerica has so much to be proud of-
    expect more of the same when the fascists return to power in November.

    Posted by: nick | Sep 14, 2010 8:27:08 AM

  6. Brutal. There's got to be created some alternative for 'different' kids like Billy. It's next to impossible stopping the kind of bullying he went through. I personally think these mega schools common in America are a disaster and far smaller charter type schools are much better teaching, learning, and social environments for kids, especially 'different' kids. I went from a school with over 2000 students to a public charter-type school of 150 my final year in H.S. Although I wasn't obviously different like Billy, I still infinitely preferred the small school and noticed far less tension and negativity among students.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 14, 2010 8:48:21 AM

  7. This is just awful. Things may be getting easier for gay teens in some areas, but not most. I can definitely relate to what this poor boy went through. It's shocking that no one ever seems to get involved and punish this kind of bullying Shame on the staff of his school.

    Posted by: Daniel | Sep 14, 2010 8:50:50 AM

  8. Nick,

    This type of bullying occurs ALL OVER THE WORLD....America and Americans are no worse than other comparable nations.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 14, 2010 8:51:35 AM

  9. How is the younger generation becoming more tolerant when so many of them throw the words "fag" and "faggot" around like it's a badge of honor? They say the words, apparently, whether they actually think the person is gay or not. It's like it's endemic to "youth culture".

    Posted by: elg | Sep 14, 2010 8:55:56 AM

  10. I can't believe what I'm reading. Are you people, like Elg, actually making completely nonparallel analysis of gay youth culture and applying it to a conversation about this?

    Because, if you are, you're headed for a conversation where you are blaming the victim for what has happened to him.

    Don't be a dick. Plain and simple.

    Posted by: JonBenet | Sep 14, 2010 9:08:51 AM

  11. And, hate to break it to you, but this faggot wears that title like a badge of honor.

    Posted by: JonBenet | Sep 14, 2010 9:11:45 AM

  12. The way to stop the bullying is to kick the bullies out of the school. No ifs, no buts.

    The schools in these suicide cases appear to have been negligent. They have a duty of care to ensure all their students can study without hindrance. The school is there as a care provider. If it can't do its job, it shouldn't be allowed to operate as a school anymore.

    Posted by: jason | Sep 14, 2010 9:25:20 AM

  13. Well, if kids are listening to homophobic lyrics from people like Eminem - who are empowered by media organizations like MTV - of course they're going to throw words like "faggot" around.

    Eminem and various black homophobic rappers and hip hop artists have all been enabled by MTV. Yet GLAAD keeps giving awards to MTV. Either GLAAD is misguided or it's fucking retarded.

    Posted by: jason | Sep 14, 2010 9:28:36 AM

  14. Yet not one story about a person using gay slurs or "that's so gay" goes by without a brigade of less than 30 year olds rushing to the comment threads to tell us to stop being so sensitive, to "get over it" and trying to explain to us hysterical homos that people can use the word "faggot" without being the least bit homophobic and without offending anyone (like, "Suck on that faggots" for example) or that "that's so gay" has no connection whatsoever to "gay" or homophobia. Well, NEWSFLASH, it DOES have to do with promoting the idea that homosexuals are lame and stupid and weak. That's where the origin a the phrase came from even if kids, and some adults, today are too stupid to realize it.

    For this kid and all the others who have committed suicide over these words and their "not offensive" meanings I call BULLSHIT and say shame on YOU. YOU get over it! Stop defending the indefensible and start defending the defenseless!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Sep 14, 2010 9:45:31 AM

  15. This is why it matters when people like Stephanie Rice thoughtlessly throw words like this around.

    Posted by: Andrew | Sep 14, 2010 10:05:48 AM

  16. Wow...this is so tragic and just happens to be the same High School that my partner attended years ago. Too bad the administration was asleep at the wheel and still seems to not recognize the gravity of this situation. My heart is breaking once again today! May he be at peace now!

    Posted by: GW | Sep 14, 2010 10:13:56 AM

  17. I can see what are you concerned and as a mother or father, we all hope our kids will grow healthy and happy.

    Posted by: cheap guild wars 2 gold | Sep 14, 2010 10:17:06 AM

  18. Maybe some of the bullies and perhaps even the school staff should be brought up on accessories to murder charges (like that would ever happen). What a pathetic waste of human life and potential. It's all far too tragic, and too common.

    Posted by: ron | Sep 14, 2010 10:28:10 AM

  19. This is story just makes me so sad for the kid and his family, but it also pisses me off when the fucking bully's keep getting away with this shit! Their the ones who don't deserve to live!

    Posted by: Dawnell_do | Sep 14, 2010 10:30:33 AM

  20. Every kid in that school should be required to attend that boy's funeral, so the bullies can see the result of their handywork. Not that it would make any difference, I'm sure.

    Posted by: SONNIE | Sep 14, 2010 10:40:38 AM

  21. Another simple case of those in charge of kids turning a blind eye. From the principal, to the teachers, to the guidance counselor, gym teacher, coaches, to his bus driver and on down. They knew it was happening and did nothing. That boy's death is THEIR FAULT, not the bully's, even though he may have been the trigger.

    This kind of thing only grows in power when it's allowed to happen again and again. Kids know when they can get away with bullying and when they can't. Obviously they've been allowed to get away with it for a long, long time in that environment.

    I feel terrible for him and his family.

    Posted by: johnny | Sep 14, 2010 10:48:33 AM

  22. God, flashback to horror. This is issue is more important than marriage and DADT.

    What I went through was obviously not as bad, yet I do not know how I got through the bullying I went through. I remember I was just scared to ask for help from my mother because I would have to tell her the nature of the bullying. Being called out for being a fairy, faggot, gay... It meant having to admit, at 10 years old to my perceived sexuality. When I finally did tell her about the bullying, I think I must have said I wasn't gay, and her response to the whole thing was to just ignore it, that it was just words, blah blah, blah. completely useless. When I was a bit older, and in a different school, the one time I stood up for myself with one kid, I was taken to the Vice Principle's office and was paddled, for taking part in a fight. He did not care that I was defending myself. It was insanity.

    I feel awful for this boy. Years ago, when the Columbine shootings occurred, I understood why those boys went on a rampage. I told my mother again about all the bullying from my childhood and she said she didn't understand why I didn't do more to make her get what was going on. ugh.

    I am amazed more kids don't just snap, and go one way or the other and kill themselves or others. I am thankful it doesn't happen more. But glbt (or perceived to be) kids need help.

    Posted by: critifur | Sep 14, 2010 10:51:46 AM

  23. Pathetic.

    The people who would create a Facebook page memorializing this have just as much blood on their hands as any bully for not standing up for this young man.

    Facebook and MySpace will not achieve anything. It didn't for Lawrence King and it won't for this young man. Grow a spine, not a social media page.

    Posted by: Jubal Harshaw | Sep 14, 2010 10:58:42 AM

  24. "Grow a spine, not a social media page."

    Right on!

    Posted by: gaylib | Sep 14, 2010 11:12:14 AM

  25. The entire school should be indicted for murder.

    Posted by: boris | Sep 14, 2010 11:20:15 AM

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