Gay Ohio Teen Beaten On Camera Comes Forward As ACLU Presses Case

Zachary Huston has bravely come forward as the 15-year-old gay student whose vicious beating at Unioto-Scioto High School in Chillicothe, OH, was captured on a cell-phone camera and posted on Facebook.

“I don’t even remember how many times I was hit,” says Zach, whose mother, Rebecca Collins, had previously spoken with the media. Zach explained that it was a comment the attacker made on his Facebook page that made it clear this was a bias crime. “[He wrote] check out the definition of a fag.”

Meanwhile The ACLU of Ohio is accusing Zach’s school of being  “derelict in its responsibility to provide a safe learning environment,” according to the group’s legal director James Hardiman. “It’s not enough to recognize or know a student was bullied,” he said at a press conference on Monday. “It must go further than that… It’s not enough to have a policy on paper. The policy must have meaning— it must have teeth.”

The ACLU has requested a meeting with Unioto High School Principal Jim Osborne and Superintendent Dwight Garrett to discuss the issue of bullying, but  Hardiman says they haven’t ruled out a lawsuit if the school isn’t cooperative. “We have reached out to the school to make certain they understand and appreciate what we’re trying to accomplish,” he explains. “We will not hesitate, however, if a response is not forthcoming, to take appropriate legal action.”

The October 17 attack, recorded and posted by the cousin of  assailant Levi Sever, was not the first time Zach had been the victim of bullying. “[He] was pushed. Expletives were directed toward him,” says Hardiman of previous incidents. “His mother reported this to school officials. Nothing was done. After a period of time, it became an exercise in futility.”

Sever was initially only suspended from school for three days—but after a hue and cry he was eventually charged with misdemeanor assault and plead guilty this week. Zach has returned to school, where he still faces the taunts of classmates. “I feel a little scared,” he admits, “but I feel like if I don’t go back, then I let them get to me.”


Source: Lancaster Eagle Gazette via Towleroad

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  • FreddyMertz

    Strong kid.

  • Natalie

    Bullying and anti-gay bullying have become such huge issues over the past several years. Schools are responsible for creating a safe learning environment for all students. Therefore, it only makes sense to include sexual orientation in all schools’ anti-discrimination policies. The following is a story of a former victim of anti-gay bullying who has taken on the issue and now is meeting with members of Congress in an attempt to get a federal law passed: http://www.askthejudge.info/caleb-laieski-a-teen-champion-of-lgbt-youth-rights/8648/

  • Henry

    Was his attacker an Evangelical Christian like all the others who hate gay people, or was this just a secular hate crime?

  • Cam

    Isn’t it interesting that behavior that the police and the legal system consider illegal and jailable offenses the school system feel only needs a 3 day suspension?

    About time that the schools realize they are also in the U.S. and subject to the law.

  • Dallas David

    Props to whoever caught this on video.
    Of course, it would have been better for the victim (Zach) had he dropped the camera and stopped the beating, but then the brutality would probably have been ignored by school officials, and Zach would have had to deal with that.

    Now, the “dirty laundry” has been exposed for all to see, and it will lead not only to a suitable resolution for his situation, but will hopefully result in a better school environment for everyone.

    Nevertheless, I wonder what kind of BS the brutal teen had been told that prompted him to actually beat the crap out of Zach?

  • Lucifer Arnold

    I am sure the guys there are having wet dreams about this guy and they are releasing their
    feeling in a negative way.

  • jonjon1968

    I still don’t get the initial three day suspension for this act. A brutal assault of this nature should fall under “zero-tolerance” for which the punishment is immediate expulsion and possible criminal charges. Three days away from school do not magically make a person capable of interacting peacefully with others. He is a loose cannon and must be treated as a safety threat.

    Just curious – if a student brings a gun or knife to this school do they tell him to leave it at home for three days, after which he may return with said weapon? I have heard nothing about the attacker being forbidden to go near the victim. He is free to harrass him again anytime. What kind of idiots are running this school? Is it people who think openly gay kids are just asking for this kind of treatment?

  • o

    @Henry: There’s no DIRECT evidence the attacker was a hate-filled Christian, but there was also no direct evidence Hiroshima was an act of racism. It’s easy to believe that Christianity had infiltrated this young person’s mind and had given him a predisposition to hate gay people, to the point of viciously assaulting them. Luckily, he was dumb enough to do it on camera, or, perhaps, he did on camera because he WANTED to get punished for it – a cry for help. The school needs to give him what he wants.

  • Bob

    Hiroshima an act of racisim????? So was attacking Pearl Harbor also an act of racisim?

  • Bob

    Sorry, that response was meant for ‘Henry’ not ‘o’.

  • BigWoody

    @Dallas David: I believe that earier reports stated that the person who recorded the video was a friend (or cousin) of the bully who posted the video online. I assume their plan involved ambushing the victim and recording their attack.

  • ~PR~

    @BigWoody: yeah, I don’t think the one who posted the video deserves a pat on the back… it is most likely the video was posted to further humiliate the victim.

  • B

    No. 11 · BigWoody “@Dallas David: I believe that earier reports stated that the person who recorded the video was a friend (or cousin) of the bully who posted the video online. I assume their plan involved ambushing the victim and recording their attack.”

    If so, someone deserves a Darwin Honorable Mention (the full Darwin Award apparently being reserved for people who manage to kill themselves in an act of utter stupidity). In terms of being clueless, it’s up there with the guy who walked into a police station to complain that his marijuana stash had been stolen.

  • michael

    Who gives a f*co about the ACLU’s chat with the school? The ACLU needs to prosecute with a hate crime. The only way physical bullying is going to stop is if the Feds start stepping in with hate crimes. It’s assult based on sexual orientation so I am not sure why these bullies aren’t being held up to our legal system.

  • Anonomaus

    As a member of this school let me say that this has been blown way out of proportion it should’ve Been treated like any other fight. It had nothing to do because he was gay. Zack is a very mouthy student. Its making our school look terrible. A gay student from Our school named Travis brown came out to show he was not bullied. He’s accepted by everyone and even cheerleads. Zack is not as innocent as he seems

  • Anonymous

    I am also a member of this school and this was no hate crime. Zach ran his mouth and pushed people to start it. Unioto and it’s reputation should not be punished for this. I think it’s obvious he has been given enough attention, and the media has only reported one side of the story. Everyone who has commented above is assuming they know what happened when the majority does not. There are many other gay students at this school and they are never picked on. This whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

Comments are closed.