Another victim of homophobic bullying

The stepfather of a fifth grader who hanged himself tells the paper, "They called him gay and a snitch. All the time they'd call him this."

Published April 21, 2009 10:22PM (EDT)

Another little boy has killed himself after classmates teased and bullied him and called him gay. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera hung himself inside his home on Thursday afternoon. His little sister, Yerralis, found his body.

"They called him gay and a snitch," his stepfather said. "All the time they’d call him this."

Kate Harding wrote about the impact of homophobic bullying last week, on what would have been the 12th birthday of Carl Walker-Hoover, who committed suicide in April after months of being tormented with anti-gay slurs. It was also the 13th National Day of Silence, organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network "to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment and effective responses."

In a 2005 survey, GLSEN found that more than 64 percent of LGBT students reported verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school, and 29 percent reported missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. The Day of Silence, they say, is a chance for students of all sexual orientations to support their peers and call attention to bullying.

So it should come as no surprise that certain conservative Christian organizations saw the day as an attempt to indoctrinate children according to a homosexual agenda. The NotOurKids coalition, made up of more than 20 religious groups (including the American Family Association) organized a boycott of the Day of Silence, calling on families to keep their children home from school. Linda Harvey, a spokesperson for the coalition, has explained her objection to the day as follows: "We need to be very, very concerned about the harm, for our own children and all of these children," she told World Net Daily. "We are creating barbarians. Parents want something other than barbarians living down the street."

It would almost be funny, except that kids' lives are at stake.

By Abigail Kramer

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