Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hate Crime death of a child

Written by: Kelli Busey

Austin, Texas - (February 21, 2008) – On February 12, 2008, 15-year
old Lawrence "Larry" King was shot and killed by a fellow classmate
in Oxnard, California. Friends have reported that Larry had been
bullied and harassed by classmates, including the fellow student
charged with his murder. Larry was perceived to be gay and gender
non-conforming, and his murder is being prosecuted as a hate crime.
Also last week, 10-year old Cameron McWilliams took his own life in
his South Yorkshire home after telling his mother he wanted to be a

Out Youth, Equality Texas Foundation, and numerous community partners
invite the public to a vigil in memory of Larry, Cameron, and others
on Saturday, February 23rd, at 6:00 p.m. at Out Youth, located at 909
East 49 ½ Street in Austin. During the vigil, community partners
will be advocating for LGBTQ youth, safe schools, and suicide

"The tragic loss of these young people reminds us of the task before
us. As a community and as a society, we need to make it just as safe
for LGBTQ youth as for everyone else. Out Youth and our community
partners will not rest in the fight against bullying, violence, and
suicide," said Matt Smith, Executive Director of Out Youth.

"Bullying and harassment are pervasive problems in our schools," said
Paul Scott, Executive Director of Equality Texas
Foundation. "However, there are proactive measures that schools can
implement to successfully address bullying and harassment. These
include: (i) adoption of comprehensive anti-bullying policies that
enumerate categories such as race, gender, ethnicity, religion,
sexual orientation and gender identity/expression ; (ii) providing
staff training to enable school staff to identify and address
bullying in a timely manner; (iii) supporting student efforts to
address bullying on campus, including gay-straight alliances; and
(iv) instituting age-appropriate curricula to help students
understand and respect difference within the school community and
society," Scott said.

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