Sunday, October 23, 2011

It affects the entire community

LGBT Nation: "...Aaberg and the others met with Deb Steiskal, Bachmann’s constituent services officer, reported the Star-Tribune. Aaberg said afterward that, although she felt the meeting was productive and she was confident Steiskal would deliver their message to Bachmann, she was skeptical that Bachmann would take a proactive position to help curb anti-gay bullying. Aaberg also delivered petitions containing more than 130,000 signatures from around the country, calling on Bachmann to condemn harassment of LGBT students in her congressional district. “I wanted to give her a chance to do the right thing,” Aaberg said...Bachmann’s congressional district includes the Anoka-Hennepin School District — Aaberg’s son Justin attended Anoka High School. The school district has been widely criticized for not taking a firm stand on anti-gay bullying, and is currently target of two lawsuits stemming from its “neutrality policy” regarding issues of sexual orientation and identity. Critics call the policy a “gag rule,” and the Star-Tribune, in a recent editorial, called it “gutless” and “out of touch.” Over the past two years, a total of nine teenagers from within the school district have committed suicide — the latest in May — and many more students have attempted to take their lives. Some of the victims were gay, or perceived to be by their classmates, and many were reportedly bullied..." (Mother of Justin Aaberg delivers petitions calling on Bachmann to denounce anti-gay bullying)

Queerty: "...Anoka High has seen five students kill themselves in the past year; three of those suicides are believed to be tied to struggles with sexual identities. And yet the Anoka-Hennepin School District continues to rail against specifically calling out LGBT bullying — something their perhaps-future governor also believes — because, according to district spokeswoman Mary Olson, teachers should “remain neutral” on the subject. That’s not good enough. Not to moms like Tammy Aaberg, who’s not letting her son die in vain. She’s become one of the area’s most vocal critics of the district, and the most vocal supports of bullying prevention. You would assume there were warning signs from Justin, but either administrators or teachers — and his own mother — weren’t tuned in to pick up on them. And none of that will change until school districts accept that LGBT bullying does occur, is a unique problem, and doesn’t just affect “those faggot kids.” It affects the entire community..." (Teenager Justin Aaberg Killed Himself Over Gay Bullying. His Mom Won’t Let Anyone Forget).

Justin Aaberg, an accomplished concert cellist as well as a composer, was one among the far too many LGBT suicides last year at the hands of bullying. Many of us never had the chance to know Justin, but his memory and legacy live on through the incredible work his family is doing on his behalf (noh8campaign).

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Bullying is an abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "targeted individual" (Wikipedia).