Wendy Walsh, mother of 13-year-old Seth Walsh who in September hung himself from a tree in the family’s backyard and later died after falling into a coma from which he never woke, has spoken out in a new ACLU-backed video about the anti-gay bullying her son was victim to and how she wants school administrators to take steps to combat anti-LGBT bullying in America’s schools.
Wendy Walsh reveals in the video how she witnessed her son being bullied and how she pleaded with administrators at his school to do something about the bullying but, she says, found no help there. She also reads from her son’s suicide note and talks about the moment she found him.
The video is harrowing, Walsh’s pain is palpable, and there is some strong language, but it speaks of just how serious this issue is:
From the ACLU Blog of Rights:
Seth was in fifth grade when students started calling him “gay.” As he got older, the verbal abuse and taunts were more frequent and severe. Seth’s family and close friends report that by seventh grade other students constantly called him “queer” and “fag.” He was afraid to use the restroom or be in the boy’s locker room before gym class. One student reported that a teacher called Seth “fruity” in front of an entire class. Seth’s mother told the ACLU that her pleas for help to the school were often brushed aside. Seth’s grades eventually dropped from A’s and B’s to failing as the harassment continued. Friends say that he became depressed and withdrawn.
Seth’s story is heartbreakingly common. Verbal and physical abuse at school isolates and degrades lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. Recent studies from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and in the Journal of Adolescent Health confirm what we know about the serious harassment and safety fears that LGBT youth face. A tragic result of these factors is that LGBT youth are three times as likely to commit suicide as heterosexual youth.
Wendy Walsh’s message is clear: Students have the right to be safe and supported at school for exactly who they are. And parents deserve to know that their kids are going to school in a respectful environment where they are nurtured to reach their full potential. I think we can all agree on that.
Have You Heard About the Make It Better Project?
The Make It Better Project is supported by a host of LGBT organizations and charities, and is aimed at LGBT youth with the message that, yes, it does get better, but you don’t have to wait. There are people who want to help stop the bullying right here, right now— all you have to do is reach out to them and ask for help.
For more information, and links to resources for LGBT teens, their parents, educators and straight advocates, please click here.
Connect with the Make It Better Project:
- Visit the Make It Better Project Website
- Follow the Make It Better Project on YouTube
- Follow the Make It Better Project on Twitter
- Follow the Make It Better Project on Facebook
CARE2 PETITION: Help end anti-LGBT bullying!
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Don’t Suffer in Silence, Get Help!
The Trevor Project runs a 24/7 helpline with trained counselors ready to listen if you or someone you know would like to talk about the issues dealt with in this post.
The Trevor Project Helpline number is 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).
Trevor Project Links:
- Follow the Trevor Project on Facebook
- Follow the Trevor Project on Twitter
- Volunteer for the Trevor Project
Photo taken from the ACLU video, no infringement intended.