Bullying | News

No Charges in Anti-Gay Bullying That Led To Seth Walsh's Death

Sethwalsh Police in Tehachapi, California, will not pursue charges against students who taunted and bullied 13-year old gay student Seth Walsh, who hung himself nine days ago and was taken off of life support yesterday.

"Several of the kids that we talked to broke down into tears," said police chief Jeff Kermode. "They had never expected an outcome such as this." Other students remain in shock over Walsh's tragic death, and seem to understand that homophobic bullying played a role in Walsh's suicide, yet that doesn't mean they'll break what prevention counselor Daryl Thiesen calls the "culture of silence" that surrounds bullying.

"You're told you shouldn't be a snitch or tattler," said Thiesen.

Walsh's death comes one day after Texas teen Asher Brown shot himself over anti-gay bullying.

These incidents are not isolated, America. This isn't a gay problem, nor are these stories just about nasty brats.

We're experiencing an anti-gay bullying epidemic, and one that needs to be addressed, for the aforementioned culture of silence isn't just killing kids, it's killing our nation's future.

We should all heed the Walsh family's statement on the subject: "A negative action ... by adults and children ... will not solve or help anyone! Violence is not the answer! Please everyone, be kind and love one another!"

I've included a video made by Walsh's family and friends, AFTER THE JUMP. Be warned, however, that the video will yield tears. So, if you don't want to be puffy at work, wait until you get home.

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Comments

  1. ""You're told you shouldn't be a snitch or tattler," said Thiesen."

    The police should question them and find bullies.

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 29, 2010 9:29:48 AM


  2. I blame parents of bullies. My partner and I are gay and have an 11 year old son. He was invited to a sleepover at the home of a friend from school along with another of his classmates. They had a great time. We sent church clothes in our son's bag because his friend is Catholic and we knew they would go to church the next morning. I asked him if his other friend went, too. My son's response? "No, David said his mom wouldn't let him go because the clothes he would have to wear would make him look gay." (rolls eyes) Fortunately my son realizes how ridiculous that statement was. He even defended his friend, David, "Dad, David doesn't believe that. Just his parents." When will the madness stop?

    Posted by: Troy | Sep 29, 2010 9:34:07 AM


  3. These kids are not born that way, they learn it from their parents, churches, and peers. It is re-enforced by bigots like Glen Beck and right wing nuts.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Sep 29, 2010 9:41:56 AM


  4. The parents of the bullies are primarily the culprits here. Mothers and fathers bring up their sons in a a homophobic fashion. Boys are told by their moms and dads that they mustn't kiss or hug other boys. This instills in them a fear and anxiety.

    Contrast this with how girls up brought up by their parents. Girls are told to admire other girls for their beauty. Look at how pretty Barbie dolls are given to little girls by their parents. Can you imagine parents encouraging their sons to admire beauty in a man?

    Parents are to blame.

    Posted by: jason | Sep 29, 2010 9:43:19 AM


  5. I'm not convinced this is something new (as implied by the word epidemic here). I just think with the age of the internet, we all hear about it. I am sure this has been happening for decades now. In the age of the internet, these kids finally have a voice though, even if too late to save their own lives. Think of how many have died that we never heard about. Ugh. I just want to tell them all that if they can hang on a little longer, things will get better.

    I think the teachers who all admit in these cases to knowing about this bullying are who are to really blame. If you can't trust that your kids' teachers are going to stand up for your kid when you aren't there to do it, who can you trust? I'm thankful I had an older brother who, when hearing I was being picked on, took care of the kids who were doing it for me. It's sad these kids didn't have anyone standing up for them.

    Posted by: Tyler | Sep 29, 2010 10:05:58 AM


  6. If any of you out there are racers or marathoners, you can contact GLSEN and they will be your race partners to help you fundraise to help stop this problem. They will create a donation page for you so your friends can donate online. I've been racing for the last two years ever since hearing about Carl Walker Hoover and have been able to raise thousands of dollars. GLSEN has been awesome in supporting me. You can go to my donation page for an example https://my.glsen.org/leschke.

    Posted by: bob | Sep 29, 2010 10:16:21 AM


  7. Seth's parents, friends, the school and YOU are to blame. They're spineless cowards who are unwilling to stand up and say enough is enough.

    ""You're told you shouldn't be a snitch or tattler," said Thiesen. "

    and

    "We should all heed the Walsh family's statement on the subject: "A negative action ... by adults and children ... will not solve or help anyone! Violence is not the answer! Please everyone, be kind and love one another!""

    These two statements say volumes about the cowardice and lack of morals in this country.

    In Canada, bullied students get this kind of action at least:

    http://www.towleroad.com/2007/09/students-stand-.html

    What the hell do they get in the states?

    HOW. FUCKING. MANY. MORE?

    Posted by: Jubal Harshaw | Sep 29, 2010 10:18:10 AM


  8. If any of you out there are racers or marathoners, you can contact GLSEN and they will be your race partners to help you fundraise to help stop this problem. They will create a donation page for you so your friends can donate online. I've been racing for the last two years ever since hearing about Carl Walker Hoover and have been able to raise thousands of dollars. GLSEN has been awesome in supporting me. You can go to my donation page for an example https://my.glsen.org/leschke.

    Posted by: bob | Sep 29, 2010 10:20:27 AM


  9. It's pathetic that police are looking at this and saying "Kids will be kids" essentially. When police say that it's "Too hard" to find out what really happened, they mean they are too inept.

    Posted by: Dickie | Sep 29, 2010 10:34:04 AM


  10. This breaks my heart.

    Posted by: androjai | Sep 29, 2010 11:24:11 AM


  11. And Westboro Baptist Church gets to go to SCOTUS to ask for the right to BULLY legally? WTF is wrong with this picture? Our children are the future and these assholes are taking them away at an alarming rate. As a child, I was bullied (it was the 1950's) and I thought it would never end, just as Seth and Asher must have felt. We all need to work to put a stop to bullying by peers, religious zealots and even the police.

    Posted by: mad1026 | Sep 29, 2010 11:48:23 AM


  12. The only thing that made me cry was that horrible soundtrack. Sounded like the shitty intro music to a 80s sitcom.

    Posted by: Royy | Sep 29, 2010 11:54:10 AM


  13. You're so right Royy. You know you're too kewl for skool yo? Did you write that sitting at the back of the office with your bros singling like 6 year old girls at the pretty girls slumber party?

    Posted by: Rowan | Sep 29, 2010 1:28:06 PM


  14. Again, the root causes of severe depression in teenagers is clinical and not caused by bullying. It may be aggravated by bullying, but not caused by it. This is primarily a medical issue. What one tends to disregard is that suicidal teens will act on their impulses regardless of the input. For example, they might not win a science project and then off themselves. How many Asian kids commit suicide because they fail to maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA? More than a few. Parents need to clue themselves in to see the signs of depression. Treatments are few, but they can help. And intervention is very good at preventing violence or suicide (it goes both ways).

    Posted by: anon | Sep 29, 2010 1:42:29 PM


  15. Would Jesus Bully Gay People? Would Jesus lie to Cover it up? Would Jesus fail to investigate and charge the bullies with crimes??

    CNN has reported on this issue. Email to thank them, and to ask for more coverage.

    Anderson Cooper
    http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form4.html?5

    Kyra Phyllips
    http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form4.html?16

    My message:
    Thank you for reporting on the very important issue of Child Death by School Bullying.

    The denial and the apathy displayed by these school systems and their respective communities over the Deaths of Children is appalling and immoral.

    Posted by: customartist | Sep 29, 2010 2:39:12 PM


  16. The exact cause(s) of depression are varied and complex. I'm not an expert, but my understanding is clinical depression is believed to be caused by a combination of factors including environment. It's certainly possible then that this boy became clinically depressed due at least partially to external abuse and (internalized hate?) and was pushed over the edge by at least partially his environment. In fact it could have been the defining factor, couldn't it?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 29, 2010 2:41:42 PM


  17. Oh shut up, rb. Your desperate attempts at muddying the waters here when so many cases of suicide amongst bullied gay or perceived gay teens abound is ridiculous. What these cases have in common is that these kids were mercilessly harassed by their peers because of their actual or perceived homosexuality. Due to underdetermination, you can say just about anything...in fact, there are people who claim that the world is only six thousand years old...and they have no difficulty reinterpreting all of the empirical data which suggests otherwise into their pathetic, ad hoc unverifiable scheme...

    Yo, when the law fails, it's time to sack up and pay the debt that has been incurred.

    Posted by: TANK | Sep 29, 2010 2:45:46 PM


  18. Absent proper Police Investigation on the local level, Where are the Feds on this Hate Crime?

    Does the bully have to be The Very One who pushes the knife in? I think not!

    Posted by: customartist | Sep 29, 2010 2:53:26 PM


  19. OK T, I'll STFU. Anything for you.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 29, 2010 2:54:43 PM


  20. Let the tormentors DIE in tears!

    Posted by: Art | Sep 29, 2010 3:36:30 PM


  21. Unfortunately this is nothing new, homophobia has long existed in schools and still does. In addition to the homophobes stopping their homophobia, and teaching it to their kids (and also the teachers and administrators tolerating and even supporting it)...I believe we gays can help too. By putting out a more positive image of ourselves - because many of these homophobes have sleazy half-naked leathermen from gay pride floats or over the top drag queens in their heads when they think of gay. Maybe we need to rethink our gay pride parades and what we put out there...because those extremes are the ones that get on TV and everyone else sees. Sorry not to piss anyone off but stereotypes of our minority, or most, don't come from a vacuum or from nowhere, they come from somewhere. As a minority, we don't have the luxury of expecting the majority to see us fairly unless we more strongly show them, because many of them won't. Sorry if you disagree but we need to do better on our end too so they'll stop hating and fearing us. It's not the '70s anymore, our movement needs to evolve more. (Sadly, I'm also not surprised we still haven't achieved an end to DADT or an end to Prop 8, or marriage rights in most states or sexual-orientation nondiscrimination in most states. It's not just them, we're doing something wrong.)

    Posted by: Hank | Sep 29, 2010 3:50:47 PM


  22. PARENT FAIL

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Sep 29, 2010 4:06:50 PM


  23. One of the thing I want to know is how a 13 kid is "out" as a homosexual.

    I'm going say something that will get me slammed but this is the result of all the homosexual propaganda we get in the schools and TV

    At that age he shouldn't be identify with a group of people who are dysfunctional.

    In the 60's I didn't even know what a homosexual was until I was 16.

    This is a *direct* result of the over sexualizion of children who are not able to handle it!

    This young man paid the ultimate price as a result of social engineering.

    (BTW this is not to soften the schools responsibility they let it happen, but schools have always turned a blind eye to bullying)

    Posted by: Grace56 | Sep 29, 2010 7:50:32 PM


  24. Okay Grace56. That's enough trolling for today.

    Posted by: Al | Sep 29, 2010 9:14:40 PM


  25. With the new media and internet, gay kids are coming out much sooner. I've done a lot of research over the years on bullied, and gay bullied kids, because I wrote a novel with a 'gay' bullied teen as narrator, and I've seen too many stories about kids like Seth being bullied, and ultimately ending their lives. It's a tragedy, which I believe can be prevented by paying attention. Parents and educators should always be on the lookout for kids in emotional trouble, and reach out when they feel it's needed. I don't know enough about the story of Seth, but weren't there any teachers who were aware he was being bullied to the point where he saw no alternative but to take his own life? And what about his parents, the front line, didn't they see anything happening?
    As a parent, I watch my kids closely. Not that I take any freedom away from them, but I think I would know if something serious would be up, and I would respond immediately.
    I'm sorry another kid had to take his own life because of actions of others, and yes, the bullies should be held accountable.

    Posted by: David Thyssen | Sep 30, 2010 5:25:20 PM


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