More than one hundred classmates of Phillip Parker, who was just 14 when he committed suicide Friday, were quick to contact Parker’s parents to tell them that he was the victim of relentless anti-gay bullying. Phillip Parker’s parents told the media they had contacted the school numerous times to complain about the bullying, but it’s unclear what, if anything, administrators at Gordonsville High School, in Gordonsville, Tennessee, did. Tonight, Phillip’s parents and grandparents are scheduled to meet with school officials.
The mission of GHS is to help all students become responsible, self-directed learners capable of functioning in today’s ever-changing society. GHS is committed to helping all students develop the skills necessary to thrive in the face of life’s challenges. This will take place in a secure environment free from violence, drugs, and fear.
“Because he was gay, he got mistreated physically, mentally by several people out there at the school, and I am very resentful as a result of it, Phillip’s grandfather, Paul Haris, told the media. “After he did what he did, we found out a lot that we didn’t know and there is a lot of bullying that goes on at the school.”
More than 100 people, including Phillips’s classmates, held a vigil and promised to stop the bullying at Gordonsville High School, as this video, below, notes.
Sadly, Phillip Parker is the third LGBTQ teen to die by suicide this month, along with Eric James Borges and Jeffrey Fehr; all three were victims of anti-gay bullying, as LGBTQ Nation notes:
In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, Jeffrey Fehr, 18, hanged himself at his family’s home in Granite Bay, Calif. Jeffrey’s parents are convinced that a lifetime of taunts and bullying contributed to their gay son’s decision to take his own life.
Tennessee is, sadly, a hotbed of anti-LGBT hatred, and just last week its proposed, infamous, “Don’t Say Gay” bill, scheduled for a vote, was fortunately postponed.
Tennessee is also considering a so-called anti-bullying bill, which, as anti-bullying expert and author Ian Rivers wrote in The New Civil Rights Movement earlier this month, is “a frivolous piece of legislation,” that essentially protects bullies claiming relies protections for bullying those they perceive to be gay.
Just a few weeks ago, Tennessee state lawmaker Richard Floyd threatened physical violence against trans people, saying he would “stomp” them if he saw one in a store dressing room.
And as The New Civil Rights Movement reported just last month, a private Christian school in Tennessee just implemented a new policy banning anything and everything about homosexuality. We contacted them for comment but none was ever received.
Also last month, Tennessee high school teen Jacob Rogers succumbed to suicide after years of anti-gay bullying that friends charge went unacknowledged by local school officials.
Also in December, a Tennessee lesbian was denied hospital visitation rights.
In October of last year, the principal of a Tennessee high school verbally and physically assaulted a 17-year old student merely for wearing a t-shirt advocating for a gay-straight alliance.
Our thoughts today are with Phillip Parker’s family and friends.
The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Call them 1-866-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and visit stopbullying.gov, and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) website for more resources.
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