Op-ed: Fighting Back After My Bullied Son Was Expelled From School
BY Chelisa Grimes
September 21 2012 4:00 AM ET
Dynasty began to sink into depression, no matter how much I tried to help. The young man who used to brighten a room with his smile was slowly withdrawing from everyone and everything.
Again and again, as I witnessed Dynasty’s unique spark fade away because of other students’ constant harassment, I pleaded for school leaders to protect him, but they took no effective measures to help—even after other students threatened him with physical violence.
I wanted to protect Dynasty, and found what’s called a “self-protection flashlight”—a small device that emits a light, a loud noise and a weak charge when it’s set off—at a neighborhood convenience store.
It hurts me to think about the fear my son experienced last spring when he was surrounded by six other students who were going to attack him before he held the device in the air and activated it.
The noise caused the would-be attackers to scatter without assaulting him. But instead of locating the students who had threatened to Dynasty, school leaders targeted my son yet again, suspending him for trying to prevent the attack, and later expelling him.
We decided to push back, and a few weeks ago we filed a federal lawsuit against the district for failing to protect Dynasty from the constant torment despite our repeated pleas for their help.
I’ve since enrolled Dynasty in a charter school that’s not associated with the school district. Slowly, I’ve seen his spark come back. I’ve seen his happiness come back. I’ve seen his confidence. I have seen my son for the first time in months.
If there’s one thing I want for my kids—and every other lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender young person—to know, it’s this: You’re beautiful as you are, and never let anyone make you believe otherwise.