Bullied gay teen faces expulsion for bringing stun gun to Indiana school
May 8, 2012 | 2:49 pm
After school officials of Arsenal Technical High School in Indiana failed to take action against the daily bullying of gay student Darnell “Dynasty” Young, his mother, Chelisa Grimes, sent him to school with a stun gun for self-defense. Young now faces expulsion after he pointed the stun gun overhead and fired it when a group of six students surrounded him.
“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?” the mother, Chelisa Grimes, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Sunday. “I did feel like there was nothing else left for me to do, but protect my child.”
According to The Indianapolis Star, Young faced daily harassment from bullies who would taunt and threaten him with homophobic slurs, throw rocks at him, spread malicious rumors about him, and follow him home from his bus stop. Young began to lose weight from the stress; his grades slipped from A’s and B’s to F’s and he began to miss school.
“All day I’d be on my guard,” Young said to The Indianapolis Star. “It never got better. It always got worse.”
Indiana law defines bullying as words or actions that are intended “to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate or harm,” so students do not have to be physically hurt to report that they were bullied.
Despite this, school officials did not take action. Young and his mother told The Indianapolis Star that they reported the bullying to school officials more than 10 times, but Young said that Tech did not formally investigate their complaints except for once when a student who taunted him during class was taken to the dean’s office and punished.
Larry Yarrell, the Tech principal, said school staff suggested to Young that he “tone down” his accessories to avoid bullying.
“If you wear female apparel, then kids are kids and they’re going to say whatever it is that they want to say,” Yarrell said. “Because you want to be different and because you choose to wear female apparel, it may happen.”
One day, Young cried when Grimes asked him how his day was; he said the bullying was constant. That’s when Grimes decided that she was tired of the school’s inaction and gave Young a stun gun.
Unlike tasers, stun guns do not shoot barbs. Instead, the shooter must place the gun on or close to people in order to shock them. Grimes said she thought Young could use the stun gun to scare off bullies without shocking them because firing the stun gun into the air produces a loud clicking sound, which can be intimidating.
On April 16, six students surrounded Young in between classes. They called him names and threatened to beat him up, so Young fired the stun gun into the air, scaring them off.
Minutes later, school police officers came into his class, cuffed him and found the stun gun.
He was suspended and recommended for expulsion.
The school district held an expulsion hearing last week but no decision has been announced, CNN reports.