As parents, there is little that we want more than to keep our kids safe and happy. An Indiana mother of a 17-year-old gay son was allegedly trying to do just that when she sent him to school with a stun gun following a series of bullying incidents, including homophobic slurs and rock throwing.
The mother, Chelisa Grimes, sent her son Darnell “Dynasty” Young to his high school in Indianapolis with the weapon after he said he had been bullied for months, without sufficient intervention from school administrators, reports CNN. She said, "I do not promote violence—not at all—but what is a parent to do when she has done everything that she felt she was supposed to do ... at the school?"
Last month, after six students surrounded him at school, name-calling and threatening to beat him up, he pulled the stun gun from his backpack, raised it in the air and set off an electric charge, which dispersed the group. Nobody was hurt, and Young went off to class, but he was arrested a short while later. He has been suspended and now faces possible expulsion for violating school policy by bringing a weapon to school.
Young, who is gay, is apparently known for dressing flamboyantly, which school staff have tried to discourage him from doing. His school principal told The Indianapolis Star, "’If you wear female apparel, then kids are kids and they're going to say whatever it is that they want to say. Because you want to be different and because you choose to wear female apparel, it may happen. In the idealistic society, it shouldn't matter. People should be able to wear what they want to wear.’"
"’I deal with all bullying, and I take it very seriously,’" the principal continued. "’I've been a big disciplinarian. Your school climate's not worth a quarter if you don't have good discipline.’" Although the school has interviewed students and teachers about the bullying and this incident in particular, it has failed to identify the bullies.
Nearly nine out of 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students have been bullied or harassed at school over the past year, according to a 2009 survey of over 7,200 middle and high school students, and two-thirds of them don’t feel safe at school. Young admits that as a result of the bullying and some particularly nasty rumors about him, he had suicidal thoughts.
Grimes explained that while she knew stun guns weren’t allowed on school property, she specifically chose a one because it didn’t seem as dangerous as a gun or a knife.
What’s your take on this? If you felt a school wasn’t doing all it should to protect your child, how would you handle the situation?