An Indiana mother sent her gay son to school with a stun gun as a self-defense weapon after she claims teachers and administrators did not do enough to protect him against bullying.
I do not promote violence -- not at all -- but what is a parent to do when she has done everything that she felt she was supposed to do ... at the school? the mother, Chelisa Grimes, told CNN. I did feel like there was nothing else left for me to do, but protect my child.
Grimes said that when she spoke with school officials about the issue, teachers and administrators appeared to blame Young for being openly gay and that he called attention to himself because he wore his mother's purses and jewelry.
They said that the problem was he was too flamboyant, with his bags and his purses and his rings, Grimes said, reported the Indianapolis Star.
Grimes said she would send her 17-year-old son Darnell Young to school with the stun gun again even though he is potentially facing expulsion from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis.
I brought the stun gun 'cause I wasn't safe, Young said.
Young he was often teased and attacked at his high school by several students. They often cursed at him and taunted him with homophobic slurs. He felt he needed to protection, reported the Indianapolis Star.
On April 16, a group of rowdy individuals surrounded him and threatened to assault him. Young removed the stun gun from his backpack and raised in the air, sending off an electric charge, reported CNN. The group ran off.
I got kicked out of school for me bringing the weapon to school, but I honestly don't think that that was fair, Young said, according to WKMG. I didn't use it on nobody ... all I did was raise it up in the air and went back to my class.
School officers arrested Young. The incident is currently being investigated.
Grimes said that this whole ordeal has been a nightmare.
I'm trying to fight for my baby's education, she said.
Larry Yarrell, the principal of Arsenal Technical High School, told the Indianapolis Star that he discouraged young from bringing so many women's accessories to school.
If you wear female apparel, then kids are kids and they're going to say whatever it is that they want to say, Yarrell said. Because you want to be different and because you choose to wear female apparel, it may happen. In the idealistic society, it shouldn't matter. People should be able to wear what they want to wear.
However, he said no one was blaming Young for the bullying.
They're just trying to make his transition over here as easy as they possibly can, he said. They've said, 'If you're going to dress the way you're dressing, people are going to say things. If you could tone it down as much as possible, then people won't have as much to say.'
According to Stomp Out Bullying, a national advocacy program, nine out 10 of students who identified themselves as homosexuals said they have been taunted by their peers at school or online.
Parents have been concerned about the best way to protect their children when it comes to bullying.
It's one of the more complex situations today, Nuwer said, a professor at Franklin College, who has written books on bullying and hazing, reported the Indianapolis Star. There are sometimes no answers.
Young originally went to school in Arizona where he said he was not bullied and most people accepted his sexuality. But when he moved in with his mother in Indianapolis, that's when the trouble started.
All day I'd be on my guard, he said. It never got better. It always got worse.
He considered suicide as the bullying persisted and his grades began to slip. The bullying happened every day. Young and his mother told school officials more than 10 times about the problems he faced.
I was at my wit's end. I didn't know what to do and I thought about suicide, Young said. I hate saying that word because God blessed me with this life. I love life. I love my education. I would never ... but this bullying got so bad that I thought about that.
Yarrell said that school officials could not identify students who were bullying him.
Grimes, however, just wanted to protect her son.
If they weren't going to protect him, she said, I'll protect him.
Grimes decided to give Young a stun gun to intimidate his attackers.
We're not trying to hurt anyone, she said. We're just trying to protect him.
Grimes said that if Young is expelled she will appeal.
I plan to tell them that my child has a right to go to school and get an education and be safe, she said. We have the right to protect ourselves. We just do.