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04/19/2007


FL School Decides Against Expelling Student Who Defended Gay Student From Attacker: VIDEO

2_betterson

Mark Betterson, a student at East Lee County High School in Lehigh Acres, Florida who was suspended after trying to stop another student from beating a gay student, has now been allowed to return to school. The news came after Betterson attended a punishment hearing Monday morning, NBC2 reports:

Betterson says he got into the fight with another student after that student hit another kid for being gay, and he says -- given the choice -- he would defend the victim again. 

"Bullying isn't called for, and everyone should be respected for what they want to be and what they want to do," Betterson said.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Texas Tattoo Parlor Offers $20 'My Little Pony' Tattoos To Raise Money for Suicidal Bullied Teen

MylittleponyImperial Tattoo in Sugar Land, Texas has become a surprising well-spring of anti-bullying activism after the attempted suicide of Michael Morone, an 11-year-old student and "brony" (a male fan of "My Little Pony") from North Carolina.

The tattoo parlor's owner, Tony Wayne, took action immediately, offering $20 "My Little Pony" tattoos in order to raise funds for Michael and an anti-bullying organization. It turns out that Michael and tattoo aficionados have more in common than one might initially think.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

"We've done 25-30 of them since last week and more are booked this week," said store owner Tony Wayne. "They're regular guys, tattooed mean lookin' guys."

Wayne says as soon as he saw Michael Morones' story, he knew he had to help.

"Tattoos are about freedom of expression. Michael should have been free to like My Little Pony if he wanted to,"  Wayne said. "I knew other kids would be being bullied and this was the only way I could think to help."

Patrons with personal stakes in Michael's story have also gone to Imperial to receive their equine ink.

Christy Van Kannon, 34,  from Katy got a blue My Little Pony with a red mohawk on the inside of her left arm.  She said she felt compelled to do it because one of her 12 year old daughter's school friends also committed suicide because of bullying.

"I have three kids," said Van Kannon, "For me this was an incredible opportunity to show people how important it is to stop bullying,  We have to stand up for others that cant stand up for themselves"

Michael's recovery is suspect at this point, and he is still in critical condition at a North Carolina hospital. He may have severe brain damage. A recovery fund has raised nearly $70,000, but some of the Imperial's donations will also go to Stomp Out Bullying, a bullying prevention organization aimed at kids and teenagers.

"I didn't even realize this was going on, but things should not be gender specific. I'm getting (a My Little Pony Tattoo) myself now. You don't have to be a girl to like My Little Pony," Wayne said.


North Carolina Boy Attempted Suicide After Being Bullied For Watching 'My Little Pony': VIDEO

Michaelmorones

An eleven-year-old from North Carolina attempted suicide in late January after being repeatedly bullied and harassed for watching and enjoying "My Little Pony," a television and film series aimed at young girls but with a dedicated male fan base. Michael Morones was found hanging from his bunk bed and is now hospitalized, with the severity of brain damage and expected level of recovery still unknown. 

NY Daily News reports:

"We won't know for months how much is going to heal," his mother, Tiffany Morones-Suttle, told WTVD. "It could even be years before we find out what potential for healing he has."

...

Morones is among a growing section of the male population that enjoys “My Little Pony,” which was originally marketed toward girls and created in 1983.

The fan boys are dubbed “Brony” and are unabashed about the colorful equines, which have spawned several TV series and feature-length films.

"It teaches the most basic moral values to a lot of complex thoughts," Shannon Suttle, the boy’s stepfather, told WTVD.

The Morones family has received a great deal of support, but, shockingly, they have had their fair share of negative commentators as well. Michael's mother has no plans to respond.

"I've heard a lot of people say you need to go after bullies and hold them responsible," his mom told WTVD. "But you know, I don't think that's what Mike would want. I would rather teach people how to do right than turn around than punish, because punishment doesn't always work."

We will keep Michael and his family in our thoughts during this difficult time.

Watch the ABC 11 news report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Trans Teen Charged With Battery After Defending Against Attacks

Jewlyes

16-year-old California high school student Jewlyes had been enduring ongoing torment from bullies for being transgender until she finally fought back in self-defense. As a result, she is now being charged by the District Attorney for battery despite no one walking away from the altercation with anything more than light scratches. None of the other students involved, all three of whom ganged up on her, are having charges of any kind levied against them.

According to Jewlyes, she had made prior attempts to work with school officials to handle the bullying she was receiving, but to no avail. Deputy District Attorney Dan Cabral told NBC Bay Area that they will not comment on their reasoning for charging Jewlyes unless ordered by a court to do so.


New York Giants Player Victor Cruz Gives Assist to Gay Bullied Teen: VIDEO

Cruz

As part of its NFL Characters Unite public service program, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz helps a gay bullied teen overcome his fears about a place that for him was a source of pain and rejection: the locker room.

Writes USA Network: Kemmerling

In NFL Characters Unite, Cruz meets 19-year old Joey Kemmerling, who came out when he was a middle school student. Joey was relentlessly bullied for years because of his sexual orientation. Classmates called him hateful names, physically hurt him and even threatened to light him on fire. The school locker room was a particularly painful and dangerous place for Joey, as much of the taunting took place there. At one point in high school, the situation got so bad that he contemplated suicide. With the support of his mother, Joey was able to move past the homophobia and harassment he experienced and he decided to use his voice to help stop bullying. He launched a youth-led anti-bullying organization, became active with the nonprofit GLSEN and has spoken to groups of students, educators and even members of Congress.

Now, thanks to Victor Cruz, he gets an opportunity to clear another hurdle: revisiting a locker room, a place that still conjures up painful memories. Cruz takes Joey on a tour of the New York Giants locker room to help him put the agony of his past truly behind him. Joey gains closure he needs to continue on his path to full recovery and learns to Never Say Never to overcoming his fears.

Watch (autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

(via outsports)

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Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Mississippi School District for Failing to Address Anti-Gay Bullying: VIDEO

Holmes

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Destin Holmes, a student who was bullied and harassed by teachers and students at Magnolia Junior High and Moss Point High School in Moss Point, Mississippi, Gulf Live reports.

The harassment is disgusting:

In March, Holmes said she was in her Magnolia Junior High math class last year when she experienced one of her worst cases of bullying, and it was initiated by a teacher.

The teacher had divided the class into 2 teams -- boys versus girls -- for a trivia game, Holmes said, but she called on the tomboy-looking teen to sit alone in the middle because she was an "in-between it."

Now at Moss Point High School, Holmes said the students are a little more accepting, but she still has trouble with staff.

In one instance, a substitute teacher wrote her up for not following directions, and the written referral called her "he." Holmes said the substitute knew she was female.

SPLC says the school district has chosen to ignore the situation:

The federal lawsuit -- filed in Gulfport this morning -- is being brought to enforce equal protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, the organization said, as well as students perceived as LGBT.

The filing is the next step in the case of 17-year-old Destin Holmes, a lesbian student who stood with the SPLC in March and said she was consistently harassed because of her sexual orientation and because she dressed in hats and masculine clothes. The harassment came from administrators, teachers and students, said Anjali Nair, a staff attorney with Southern Poverty Law Center.

After that March news conference, the SPLC said it would try to reach an agreement with the district to change the bullying environment, but Nair said an agreement was not reached.

Watch Holmes talk about her experience being bullied, AFTER THE JUMP...

Here is SPLC's page on the case with much more information.

Continue reading "Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Mississippi School District for Failing to Address Anti-Gay Bullying: VIDEO" »


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