U.S. senator Al Franken of Minnesota, sponsor of legislation that would call for antibullying measures in public schools, expressed his condolences to the family of Lance Lundsten, an 18-year-old from Miltona, Minn., who died in an apparent suicide.
reports that authorities believe Lundsten's death was a suicide. Police
officers responded to an emergency call at his family's residence in
Miltona around 10 p.m. Saturday, and he was taken to Douglas County
Hospital, where he died. Friends of Lundsten said the 18-year-old was the target of bullying for his sexual orientation.
"My heart goes out to Lance's family and friends and
loved ones. It's a tragic event not only for them, but for the school
and the [community] and really for all of us," Franken said.
Last year Franken introduced a Senate bill explicitly addressing antigay bullying in public schools. Of the legislation, he toldThe Advocate in October, "It's clear that we need to do more to protect our students from
bullying and harassment, and it's time that we extend equal rights to
LGBT students. No student should be subjected to
discrimination and harassment in school, and we must tackle this
problem at every level -- local, state, and federal."
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