Seth Walsh endured chronic bullying over his sexuality. Pushed to breaking point, Seth hung himself. He was one of four teens to do so in September 2020.
On October 2, 2020, more than 500 people packed into the First Baptist Church in Tehachapi, California for a memorial service in honor of 13-year-old Seth Walsh. Having endured chronic bullying, Seth went home on September 19, 2020 and hung himself from a tree in the family's backyard. His death was one of four gay bullying-related suicides in the month of September.
Seth battled with his homosexuality from a young age
According to the article, "The Bullying of Seth Walsh: Requiem for a Small Town Boy," posted on October 2, 2020, at Time.com, writer Bryan Alexander reports that Seth's grandparents stated that their grandson knew he was gay from an early age but had trouble accepting it. The teasing had apparently begun before Seth even admitted his sexuality, forcing the teen to be homeschooled on a couple of occasions.
Alexander adds that Judy Walsh, Seth's grandmother, told him, "By sixth grade, the kids were starting to get mean. By the seventh grade he was afraid to walk home from school because he was afraid he would get harassed. As he was walking by a classroom a kid yelled out 'Queer.' Stuff like that." Furthermore continued the grandmother, the bullying was extensive and comprehensive, "It was eye to eye, over the telephone, personal, over the internet," says Judy. "He spent a lot of his life frightened."
No charges planned for abusive teens and police actions are conflicting
According to news at the websites that write papers for you, no charges are planned by the local police, despite the admission of guilt by teens involved in the teasing. Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermod, told the TV news station that those teens responsible were remorseful and regretted their actions and no crime had actually been committed. This seems rather shocking, particularly in light of the recent news story of Floridian father, James Jones, who boarded a school bus to confront his daughter's bullies.
James received overwhelming support publicly for his actions, because parents commiserated with his frustration. Having followed the correct channels, the system let Jones and his daughter down. Jones was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing a school function. The police who arrested him called Jones the bully and indicated that he should have involved law enforcement immediately. Yet in the case of Seth Walsh, police say that no actual crime was committed.
Let's turn to a recent case in Boston, where five New Hampshire students are facing criminal charges for teasing a 16-year-old girl. Police charged the Salem students after they verbally abused a 16-year-old girl and teased her about her appearance and sexual orientation. The victim ended up committing herself to a mental health facility. So should teasing be considered a crime, or was this simply a knee-jerk reaction from Massachusetts law officials after the high-profile suicide of Phoebe Prince, which occurred in the same state?
Is teasing a crime or not?
In "Promoting Hope, Preventing Suicide," published at Psychologytoday.com on April 7, 2020, Elana Premack Sandler, LCSW, MPH, writes in direct reference to the Phoebe Prince case that, "A top-down approach to bullying prevention" which holds school officials accountable would, "Be more effective than individual targeting of young people who bully."
On the other hand, on April 5, 2020, Kristin Palpini of Gazettenet.com writes in "Teens ask for Help in Assignment Writing" and "Help to Deal with Bullies," that students questioned in a teen focus group on bullying said that while, "Sanctions for bullying, don't always need to be of a criminal nature. An educational component as to why bullying is wrong and how it affects people is needed."
Teens are crying out for help reports Palpini, citing Amherst Regional High School senior Naimah Petigny who said, "I think students need to be held accountable. "They need to be taught a lesson." Palpini adds the teens themselves felt that, "They do not think many of the adults in their lives realize how damaging harassment can be or that adults have the power to stop it."
Four teens commit suicide in the month of September 2020
Whether teens should be held accountable or not the statistics show that something needs to be done. In September alone, four young men committed suicide after being bullied for their sexual orientation. Jessica Geen of Pinknews.co.uk, reported on October 1, 2020, that in three of the four cases, no teens are expected to be charged over the bullying incidents.
Geen writes in "Four US Teens Bullied for Being Gay Commit Suicide in a Month" that the latest incident involved, "New Jersey student Tyler Clementi, who jumped from a bridge after his roommate allegedly taped him having sex with a man," and then posted it on the Internet. On September 23, 2020, 13-year-old Asher Brown, from Houston, Texas, shot himself after being accused of being gay. Like Seth Walsh, Billy Lucas of Indiana hung himself on September 9, 2020, after enduring bullying about his sexual orientation.
Kids are being failed. Even teens acknowledge that the system is letting them down. This system is a broken, flawed approach that not only fails to protect kids but exposes them to constant and repeated bullying incidents. If teens do not trust this system and parents do not trust this system, is it any wonder that bullied teens suffer in silence while frustrated parents take matters into their own hands?
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