Op-ed: Fighting Back After My Bullied Son Was Expelled From School

A mother takes matters into her own hands after the school district that was supposed to protect her gay son not only failed them, but turned against them.

BY Chelisa Grimes

September 21 2012 3:00 AM ET

Chelisa Grimes and her son Dynasty Young

No parent ever wants to hear that their child is being tormented at school, with classmates not only hurling derogatory words, but spitting on their child as they walk down the halls, and throwing glass bottles. So when my 17-year-old son, Dynasty, told me he was being targeted by his classmates at Indianapolis’s Arsenal Technical High because he’s openly gay, I did what any caring parent would do.

I turned to school leaders, expecting them to help my son.

Ever since Dynasty was young, I taught him to be proud, and to never hide any part of his individuality that makes him one of the most beautiful and unique people I have ever had the opportunity of getting to know.

I’m not just saying this because I’m his mother, but I’ve seen the rare quality that makes others flock to him, wanting to be his friend because of the confidence and happiness that he exudes.

When he joined me in Indianapolis last school year to begin his 11th-grade year, he was ecstatic, hoping to close out his high school years—which had been more than positive—with new friends.

But immediately after walking onto the Arsenal Technical campus in Indianapolis Public Schools, he was targeted by other students, who relentlessly harassed him and made him fear for his physical safety.

Like any parent, I turned to school administrators—the people who are expected to protect our children when they’re not in our homes, providing a nurturing and safe environment.

I never expected for school leaders to turn the table, blaming my son for the harassment because they thought the way he dressed was too flamboyant and even suggested that he change everything that’s beautiful about him to avoid being the target of hate.

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