Such is the case in Indiana, where a gay teen named Darnell “Dynasty” Young was being bullied and threatened with physical violence at school because of his sexuality and penchant for wearing girls’ clothing. This kind of bullying is not only homophobic, but also lame–we think that as long as kids are within their school dress codes, they should generally be able to wear what they want!) Actually, bullying of any kind is not and never will be cool, period. However, Darnell and his mom’s response to said bullying was plainly horrifying.
Darnell’s mom, Chelisa Grimes, sent Darnell to school with a stun gun. A stun gun. Darnell didn’t actually outright use it on anyone directly, but he did use it: When six other students surrounded him at school and started to threaten to beat him up and call him names, Darnell lifted the stun gun in the air and set it off–it released an electric charge, making the group flee and essentially helping to remove himself from the situation. Darnell was arrested by school police officers a little while later and taken away in handcuffs.
The problem here is, a stun gun is a weapon. Those who think what he did isn’t a big deal: What if Darnell angled it incorrectly or misused it? What if someone grabbed out of his hand and used it against him? Imagine, for a second, that Darnell’s stun gun was just a gun. Like, a real gun. Wouldn’t your opinion change? In either case, he could have really hurt someone else or himself, resulting in repercussions a lot worse and a lot more long lasting than the expulsion he’s facing right now. You know, like jail time or serious injury.
That lack of foresight leads us to believe that Ms. Grimes is a few Pokemon cards short of a full deck. What’s more is that her reasoning just doesn’t make any sense. “I do not promote violence — not at all,” she insisted to CNN, “but what is a parent to do when she has done everything that she felt she was supposed to do … at the school? I did feel like there was nothing else left for me to do, but protect my child.”
Hold up. So Ms. Grimes doesn’t promote violence, but she resorts to solving her kid’s problems with a stun gun? She insists on “protecting her child” by giving him a disciplinary (and possibly criminal) record and potentially endangering other students?
Listen, bullying sucks, especially for LGBT people who are just coming to terms with and learning about their own sexuality and have a hard time being accepted to begin with. No one should have to go through that ever. But it does happen, and there are ways to deal with and prevent it without resorting to violence or weapons, neither of which solve the underlying problems of ignorance and intolerance (and sometimes denial).
Ms. Grimes further misses the point with her next statement: “I think that the self-protection device is what’s making the news, but the big picture is that my child is not the only one who does not feel safe at our school.” Uh, maybe one of the reasons people don’t feel safe is because people like you are encouraging your kids to bring weapons to school. Fighting violence with violence only breeds more–you guessed it!–violence. And that never solves anything.
Do you think Darnell was out of line to bring a stun gun to school? Do you think his mom was wrong to encourage him to bring a stun gun to stop bullying? Have you ever been bullied or attacked? How did you resolve the issue? Tell us in the comments!