Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Caleb’s activism

Your West Valley: A Surprise teen who dropped out of school due to incessant bullying because of his sexual orientation was one of many speakers last week during a teleconference with President Barack Obama that hoped to shed light on ways to make schools safer. The White House Conference on Bullying Prevention brought together educators, experts, politicians and bullied teens — parents represented some teens who had taken their lives because of the incessant ridicule — to shed light on how the issue affects families and communities (Surprise teen speaks to Obama on bullying).

ishouldbelaughing.blogspot: Caleb's activism was successful at his own school, where policies were changed in his district as a result of his own experiences with bullying. At Willow Canyon High School, Caleb endured harassment almost daily--he was shoved into lockers and received text messages with anti-gay slurs--and believed district officials should have done more to stop it. In March, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona offered to represent Caleb in a potential lawsuit against Dysart Unified School District, but the district soon revised its student handbook to include language prohibiting bullying of LGBTQ students. Now Caleb hopes to reach out to every school, and every student in Arizona. With the help of a friend, Casey Cameron, Caleb hopes his group can provide more services for LGBTQ youth, such as counselors and a homeless shelter. But he said he is "absolutely" ready to initiate a lawsuit in specific situations: a suicide or attempted suicide because of bullying, expressions of hate from teachers or administrators, and inadequate punishment for bullying (Caleb Laieski: Standing Up, Fighting Back).


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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).