The cell phone video is grainy, but what it shows is simple enough: A 15-year-old boy being viciously beaten because he’s gay.
The incident took place last week at Unioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio. In the video, there’s a skinny 15-year-old boy in a classroom full of students. A much bigger boy says something to him. The smaller boy tries to walk away, but the bigger boy punches him. First once. Then again. Then over and over while the smaller boy curls on the ground, writhing in pain.
"I covered myself, I shielded my body, and he just kept hitting me," the victim said later. "Nobody did anything [to help me]."
Despite the brutal beating being caught on video, the bully received only three days’ suspension, which means he could be back to school as soon as this week.The Union-Scioto school district has an anti-bullying policy that protects for gender, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, and disability -- but not sexual orientation or gender identity.
The victim's mom, Rebecca Collins, says this wasn't the first time her son was bullied for being gay. In fact, just two days before the beating, Rebecca's son posted a picture of himself on Facebook, and the boy who later beat him up commented that the picture was "the definition of a fag."
Perhaps most upsetting of all, the beating took place in a classroom during the few minutes between classes, when teachers are required to roam the halls to make sure kids aren’t getting into trouble.Clearly, the current anti-bullying policy in the Union-Scioto School District isn’t working.
Union-Scioto district officials want this incident handled quickly and quietly, but they need to know that Ohioans take the issue of anti-LGBT attacks extremely seriously. As Bret Thompson says, “If the school administrators won't send a message to their student body that this is unacceptable, we'll just have to send a message to them.”
Please sign Bret’s petition demanding that the Union-Scioto school district enact a policy to protect LGBT students from bullying: