This is a powerful, and heartbreaking, video interview with the mother and stepfather of Asher Brown, a 13-year-old Houston, Texas, boy who shot himself to death last week after being bullied at school. The parents talk to Anderson Cooper about all the complaints they made to the school to try to address the situation. They say their complaints fell on deaf ears; while the school district says it never received any complaints about Asher being bullied. Asher told his parents about his sexual orientation that very morning. He was not only teased because he was gay, but because he was small and didn’t wear clothes or accessories popular with other kids, his parents say.
Asher’s mom Amy Truong’s final bit of advice to parents? If you have children and you think they are being bullied, and they seem sad or withdrawn, and they say, ‘I’m fine.’ Push past that. Push past the, ‘I’m fine.’ Truong is concerned because children who are bullied are afraid to speak up out of fear of retribution. This is a good time to remind you of the existence in Colorado of Safe2Tell, a non-profit organization that allows young people to make anonymous reports about threatening behavior.
Also, Anderson Cooper is focusing on bullying in a 10 p.m. E.T. (8 p.m. here) Monday night special report on AC360.
Brown’s death was only one of the recent teen suicides families say were related to bullying. See this CBS News report about the suicide attempt by Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old California boy who died this week of self-inflicted injuries, after being bullied because he was gay.
Colorado is no different from any other state when it comes to suicide risk among gay teens and youth. See this story in Education News Colorado by reporter Rebecca Jones, in which she documents the unveiling of a documentary video, You Are Not Alone, which premiered in Colorado Springs. The video was a joint project of the Suicide Prevention Partnership of the Pikes Peak Regionand Inside/Out Youth Services, an organization to empower and advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and other sexual minority youth. Sponsors planned to use the video in presentations at schools, churches and other venues where teen suicide prevention is taught, or where teen violence is discussed.