Joel Burnes Essay

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Tonight I would like to ask my colleagues indulgence in allowing me to use my announcement time briefly to talk about another issue that pulls at my heart. For years, it has continued, and become a story of many, and now it is expanding toward epic proportions. A couple of weeks ago after being bullied at school a child named Asher Brown went home and found his father’s gun, and shot himself in the head. The father found the boy dead when he came home from work. Asher was only 13 years old. I’d like for you to imagine his face. Imagine a 13 year old boy taking his life because some teenagers thought they were too cool to be nice. Unlike Asher, Indiana teen Billy Lucas, never came, never self-identified as gay but was perceived to be by bullies who harassed him daily at the Greensburg Community High School, 3 weeks ago he hung himself in his grandparent’s barn. He was 15 years old. Minnesota teen Justin Aaberg, came out to friends at age 15, after which the harassment and bulling began. It grew as he moved from Middle school to High school. When he found the harassment more than he could bare, he hung himself in his room and was found by his mother. Classmates started teasing and name calling Seth Walsh in the fourth grade, it continued into his middle school years where other students told him the world didn’t need another queer. And that he should Go hang himself. After September 17th after being threatened by a group of older teens, he went home and threw a noose around a tree branch and he did just that. He hung himself in his backyard. His mother (deep breath) his mother saw him, pulled him down, Seth survived on life support for 9 days after dieing a couple of weeks ago, he was 13 years old. Teen bullying and suicide has reached an epidemic in our country, especially among gay and lesbian youth. Those perceived to be gay, or kids who are just different. In

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