NBJC Appalled at School’s Expulsion of Dynasty Young
Washington, D.C. – May 9, 2012 – Earlier this week, Darnell "Dynasty" Young, an openly gay Black student in Indianapolis, was expelled after wielding an electrical self-protection device in the air to scare off bullies who were threatening him with physical violence. Young, 17, had been facing daily harassment from students who taunted him, threw rocks and bottles at him, spread rumors and followed him home. After reporting the bullying to the school more than 10 times, his mother, Chelisa Grimes, said she gave Young the device for protection because school authorities weren't doing enough. She even met with school officials to place her son into a more accepting school. According to recent media reports, the school told Young’s mother that his "flamboyance" was the cause of bullying. The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is demanding that Arsenal Technical High School hold its administration accountable. The nation’s leading Black LGBT civil rights organization is calling for an independent investigation into how this case was mishandled and for the responsible parties to be immediately terminated.
“I am horrified at the fact that the school has done absolutely nothing to protect this young man who was bullied and attacked for who he is,” says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition. “You can’t call for Dynasty to be expelled but not hold your own administration accountable for not addressing this type of harassment.”
According to a report conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in 2009, more than 80 percent of LGBT students of color reported hearing the word “gay” used in a negative way, such as the expressions “that’s so gay” or “you’re so gay,” often or frequently in school. Approximately one quarter of African American (22 percent) students like Young had missed at least one full day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.
That is why NBJC has been advocating on behalf of Black families and our Black LGBT sons and daughters. “It is our obligation as adults, parents and teachers to do all that we can to create safe and inclusive environments for all of our children to thrive,” adds Lettman-Hicks. “And if we fail our young people, then they’re left to fend for themselves. If we fail our young people, we need to hold ourselves accountable.”
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC’s mission is to eradicate racism and homophobia.
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