There is no good news in this story. None. It’s sad, and it’s endemic of the nightmares today’s LGBT youth continue to face every. single. day. Asher Brown, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Hamilton Middle School outside Houston, shot himself in the head last week after being “bullied to death.”
Asher was tormented for being small. For his religious beliefs. For the way he dressed. And for being gay. His bullies acted out mock gay sex acts in phys ed class.
As is growing increasingly typical, Asher’s mother and stepfather Amy (pictured below) and David Truong say they notified administrators at the Harris, Texas school about how their son was being taunted. They say it’s been a year and a half since they first alerted the school, but no action was taken. Calls to the school went unanswered. The school, meanwhile, says it never received any calls. School district spokeswoman Kelli Durham insists no students or teachers registered complaints, either. Update: Durham says the school received an email from Amy earlier this month, but it was about problems at home, not school bullying.
That statement infuriated the Truongs, who accused the school district of protecting the bullies and their parents. “That’s absolutely inaccurate — it’s completely false,” Amy Truong said. “I did not hallucinate phone calls to counselors and assistant principals. We have no reason to make this up. … It’s like they’re calling us liars.” David Truong said, “We want justice. The people here need to be held responsible and to be stopped. It did happen. There are witnesses everywhere.”
Asher took his own life with his stepfather’s 9 mm Beretta, which was “stored on one of the closet’s shelves.” There was no suicide note. His stepfather David found his body, lifeless, after coming home from work. “I thought he was laying there reading a book or something,” he says. “My son put a gun to his head because he couldn’t take what he was hearing and the constant teasing.”
His mother Amy came home to police sirens and yellow tape at her house. “They called him different names for being homosexual,” she says. “He just had enough.”
One report says Asher came out to his parents over the summer, and that they were so accepting he might have come out to his classmates. Another report says the morning of his death, Asher came out to David.
The day before, a student tripped him on the school steps and kicked his books all over the floor.
There’s no more room to debate whether LGBT kids need our protection. It’s inarguable. That American people, who love their children and their families and their sons and daughters and brothers and sisters can even fathom voting for bigots like Tom Emmer, who doesn’t think queer kids need our kindness and our strength and our safety, is unconscionable.
His Facebook tribute page is here.