This time last year, 15-year-old California eighth grader Lawrence “Larry” King was killed in his junior high English class. Two bullets to the head. Classmate Brandon McInerney, now 15, allegedly pulled the trigger after King asked him to be his Valentine. And while McInerney is on trial (as an adult) for first-degree murder and committing a hate crime, he’s not the only one facing possible punishment. That’s because King’s parents have filed a wrongful death suit against the school district, a shelter, and a gay rights organization — for a total of two dozen defendants — for failing to protect their kid from McInerney’s alleged threat to kill King the day before it actually happened. And because, get this, they didn’t urge King to tone down his effeminate ways.
Yup. Mom and dad are suing everyone who came into contact with their son because none of them told King it wasn’t okay to be gay. If the defendants failed to act when McInerney made the alleged threat, then that’s pure negligence, and perhaps they should be at fault. But for not telling the kid to tone down his flamboyance? And keep his sexuality in the closet? I can’t imagine that’s punishable.
The 18-page lawsuit filed by King’s parents and brother names nearly two dozen defendants. It claims that everyone from King’s teacher to his social worker failed to urge the effeminate teen to tone down flamboyant behavior. The suit also claims they failed to heed McInerney’s alleged threat to kill King a day before the shooting.
In addition to his teacher and principal, the suit names McInerney and his parents; the nonprofit Casa Pacifica, a shelter for troubled children where King had been living; counselors; a county social worker, and the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance.
The school and shelter knew that King’s behavior was “sexually assertive” and
threatening but failed to take action, the suit contends.
The shelter gave him “cross-dressing clothes and makeup and women’s boots,” and the Rainbow Alliance encouraged King to make sexual advances on McInerney, the suit claims.
Alliance Executive Director Jay Smith denied the allegation.
“No facilitator or mental health therapist would say anything even remotely like that,” Smith said. “This whole thing is just frivolous.”
Casa Pacifica did nothing to contribute to the boy’s death, administrator Steve Elson said.
The Hueneme School District earlier denied responsibility for King’s death. [AP]
Here is Ellen DeGeneres last February speaking about King’s murder.
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