Bullied Gay Ind. Teen Expelled for Bringing Stun Gun to School

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Wednesday May 9, 2012

A gay Indiana teen has been expelled from school after he brought in a stun gun that his mother gave him to protect himself against bullies, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Earlier this week an independent arbitrator who presided over an expulsion hearing ruled against Darnell Young and expelled him from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis until Jan. 7, 2013.

"I couldn't believe that they did it," Young's mother, Chelisa Grimes said. "They really kicked him out."

Young, 17, is openly gay and claims he had been bullied for months and his mother provided her son with a stun gun after she says school officials did not do enough to prevent the harassment.

Young and his mother can appeal the decision to the Indianapolis Public Schools school board but Grimes said they are debating it.

"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?" Grimes told CNN. "I did feel like there was nothing else left for me to do, but protect my child."

"I brought the stun gun 'cause I wasn't safe," Young said.

The teen's mother told the Indianapolis Star that her son had been bullied since October and that the school wasn't doing enough protecting him. When she met with school administrators, Grimes claims that the arbitrator only wanted to discuss the stun gun and not the bullying, the newspaper notes.

CNN reports that Young shot the stun gun in the air after six classmates surrounded him in April and threatened to beat him up.

"I got kicked out of school for me bringing the weapon to school, but I honestly don't think that that was fair," the 17-year-old told CNN. "I didn't use it on nobody ... all I did was raise it up in the air and went back to my class."

The school's principal also spoke with CNN and said that Young wears flamboyant clothes and that the school's staff attempted to get him to "tone down" his apparel.

"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. In the idealistic society, it shouldn't matter. People should be able to wear what they want to wear."

Experts on bullying talked to the Indianapolis Star about the incident and Hank Nuwer, a Franklin College professor who has written a number of books about bullying, said there are other solutions to bullying than using a weapon.

"I don't feel much sympathy for a parent who would arm their student in any form because that's just asking for an eventuality," Nuwer said. But he added that it's not uncommon for parents to tell their children to fight back.

Nuwer also said that several parents send complaints to the school and law enforcement and even file civil suits against bullies.

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