Darnell "Dynasty" Young, 17, was expelled today from Arsenal Tech High in Indianapolis for bringing a stun gun to school to scare away a group of bullies who he says had been tormenting him for months. "I couldn't believe that they did it," his mother Chelisa Grimes told the Indiana Star. "They really kicked him out." Grimes provided her son with the device in April.
According to Young, who is openly gay, other students began teasing him the first day of school, calling him homophobic slurs and curse words. As the year progressed, their harrasment intensified and he considered committing suicide. "They threw bottles at me. They threw rocks at me when I was getting off the bus after school," he told Fox 59 News. "I feel disrespected, because I'm a nice person."
Grimes says she armed Young with a stun gun device after reporting the bullying to the school a number of times without result. The Indiana Star reports Larry Yarrell, the Tech principal, said the administration had been asking him to "tone down" his wardrobe because Young is known around school as a "flamboyant dresser."
On April 16, Young was surrounded by six other students, whose names have not been identified. He claims they were taunting him and threatening to beat him up. According to a report on CNN, he pulled the stun gun out of his backpack and shot it above his head into the air, scattering the bullies. School police arrived on the scene and arrested and handcuffed him.
The Indianapolis school district has a zero tolerance policy for weapons. Nevertheless, Grimes said she would do the same thing again. "I would never apologize for defending my child when the school wouldn't. My child has the right to go to school and feel safe," she told Fox59.
A 2011 study of 32,000 teens published in the journal Pediatrics found that gay and bisexual students were "significantly more likely to try to commit suicide" than their heterosexual peers. For those in unsupportive surroundings, the risk of an attempt was 20% greater than for teens who attended schools with supportive programs such as a gay alliance or nondiscrimination and anti-bullying that specifically protected gay and bisexual students.