Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis expelled openly gay 17-year-old junior Darnell Young late Monday for carrying a stun gun to school to protect himself from bullies. After months of what Young calls relentless taunting and physical violence, his mom, Chelisa Grimes, gave him the stun gun for self-defense, and to reverse Young's sharp slide in grades and degrading emotional health. On April 16, surrounded by six antagonists, Young fired the gun in the air, prompting police to arrest him and his school to eventually expel him for a year. His mother says she had complained to the school at least 10 times, to no avail, before arming her son. (She claims the principal did little more than suggest her son stop dressing flamboyantly.) "I do not promote violence — not at all — but what is a parent to do"? Grimes tells CNN. Was Grimes right to give her son a weapon?
Bullying isn't an excuse to arm your child: There should be no tolerance of "extreme bullying" in schools, says The Indianapolis Star in an editorial. But there also "can be no excusing the use or even possession of an unlawful weapon by a student." The Indianapolis school board made its decision, according to its rules and best judgment, and now local and state officials have to step up to tackle the scourge of bullying that drove Young to take such "an extreme act of self-defense."
"Don't let bullies rule the school"
But this teen had no other options: If a school can't protect its gay students from bullying, it "has no right to punish that youth for bringing a defensive weapon to school," says Steven Leser at Democratic Underground. Stun guns aren't Tasers — you have to touch the person to shock them. And while I'm certainly "not a fan of bringing weapons to school," I'm not sure what Young's options were since Arsenal Tech wouldn't "protect the children entrusted to them."
"I support Chelisa Grimes and Darnell Young"
Both sides are to blame: As "irresponsible and extreme" as Grimes' decision was, says Michelle Regalado at Mamas Latinas, reading the principal's "snide and totally uncalled for" alleged remarks about Young's clothes makes me think that instead of expelling the bullied youth, the school district should really be examining the conduct of principals and teachers. How could they have repeatedly brushed aside Grimes' concerns?
"Gay teen brings stun gun to school..."