Childrearing

I Don’t Blame Bullied Teen’s Mom For Sending Him To School With A Gun

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teen bullyingI really feel for Darnell “Dynasty” Young, a gay teenager who has been expelled from his Indianapolis high school after pulling a stun gun on his bullies. As the story goes, Young was surrounded by six other students, who called him names and threatened to beat him up (the bullying, by the way, had been going on for months). Not wanting to get the crap kicked out of him, Young fired the gun in the air, which sent his bullies running. Now Young has been kicked out of school and is not welcome back until January 2013.

“While the district does not condone bullying, it also does not allow weapons to be brought on our school campuses for any reason,” said Mary Louise Bewley, director of the district’s Office of School and Community Relations. “Students who violate this rule will be held accountable.”

Ahh! Where to even begin with this? Of course people have their opinions – some believe that rules are rules, and Young clearly broke them. I don’t disagree, but I’m wondering why on earth his would-be attackers are walking away scot-free. If the school does not condone bullying, why are Young’s bullies still wandering the halls of Arsenal Technical High School?

What’s so sad to me, beyond Young being taunted and bullied for months on end, is how his own mother felt she couldn’t protect him. As a mother, I can’t even imagine what I would do if I were in her situation. I’m not one for violence, yet I don’t blame her one bit for arming her son with a stun gun (which, by the way, uses high voltage to stop an attacker – much like a taser; it’s not lethal, and doesn’t cause permanent damage).

“I had to do something to protect my child. I was in fear of losing my child, either at the hands of the bullies or either at the hands of himself,” Young’s mother, Chelsea Grimes, told MSNBC. She said she gave her son the stun gun only after school authorities failed to protect him (Young carried it around in his backpack for weeks before using it). “What is a parent to do when she has done everything that she felt she was supposed to do?” she later told CNN.

Meanwhile, Arsenal Tech’s principal, Larry Yarrell, had suggested that Young “tone down” his “flamboyant” attire. (My jaw dropped when I heard this.) He also said the school had tried to investigate the bullying, though nothing ever came of the so-called investigation.

Grimes made an excellent point when she told CNN, “I think that the self-protection device is what’s making the news, but the big picture is that my child is not the only one who does not feel safe at our school.” Anyway, I get why she felt the need to arm her child, and I probably would have done the same if I felt there was nothing else I could do. How about you?

(Photo: MSNBC)