A Mother And Son Stand Up to Bullying

BY Michelle Garcia

November 30 2011 2:49 PM ET

ZACH HUSTON BECKY COLLINS X390 (ACLU) | ADVOCATE.COM

Huston's attacker — identified as 15-year-old Levi Sever —has apparently pleaded guilty to a delinquency count of assault, and he now must wear an ankle monitor and check in with a probation officer, according to the Lancaster Eagle Gazette

The family is now working with the
American Civil Liberties Union to ensure the harassment, bullying, and assault that
Huston endured is quashed before it can get much worse. ACLU officials sent a
letter to the Union-Scioto school district threatening a lawsuit and seeking
changes to prevent future cases of bullying. And more than 80,000 people across
the country have a signed an online petition calling for changes at the school.
Still, Huston said he worries the climate of hostility may not improve at his
school for future generations.


Collins said her strong bond with Huston and his siblings have helped their
family cope with tough issues before.


"If you're not in tune with your child, and you can't tell that
something's going on with them, that's when you end up with suicide," she
said. "They're still children. If you're a good parent, you're going to
raise good kids. My kids come to me for some silly reasons, but you talk to
them, and you help them in any way you can."


After the incident, Huston walks the halls every day and endures taunts from
classmates, some of whom have also filed bullying reports against him. Collins
said she saves all of the Facebook comments that she and her son receive from
naysayers and others who threaten them. While he has found allies in some like
his assistant principal, Huston said other students still get picked on just
for being different. Huston's assistant principal has been talking about
starting a Gay-Straight Alliance, which seems to Huston like a step in the
right direction. Until then, Huston plans to walk from class to class with his
head held high.


"You can't just give into people's expectations," Huston said.
"You've got to be yourself. What doesn't kill you makes you
stronger."







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