The Best Response Video to Jonah Mowry You’ll See Today

When Jonah Mowry posted his video last August he said that he was down to one friend. Now the 14-year old has millions. One of those new friends is John who posted his own response to Jonah’s video. John’s message? It’s OK to be different, it’s what makes you who you are….

 

 

Yesterday, John posted a followup asking everyone to get involved in the fight against bullying…

 

 

To find out how you can get involved in the fight against school bullying educate yourself. Stand up! Find out about creating a Gay-Straight Alliance in your school,  and share your voice, your expertise, time or resources. Contact the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition, a network  made up of students, parents, educators and others working across the Gem State to make Idaho schools safer places for everyone.

Update: Jonah Mowry Receives Support and more Bullying

Four days ago Jonah Mowry was a relatively unknown 14-year-old who shared his story about  being bullied with a few followers on youtube.  Today he’s not only an internet inspiration but he’s also captured the hearts of some major celebrities like Lady Gaga, Ricky Martin and Perez Hilton.

Jonah’s mother, Peggy Sue Mowry tells ABC News that,”There are a lot of people that are giving their warm wishes and uplifting Jonah, and I think that’s good.”

There are also a lot of people who have taken to the internet to attack him.  Some have called the boy, who made the “Whats going on … ” video last August, a liar, others have used the teen’s heartache to push their own agenda, with comments like, “everyone has been bullied, gays don’t deserve all the attention.”

Mowry’s mom told ABC News on Tuesday that,”the family was disheartened by other vile comments that had been posted recently online.”

“He is sick over all the horrible posts and so are we … it’s very overwhelming,” said his mother, a 52-year-old hairdresser from Lake Forest, Calif.

“I’m disappointed that somebody could look at the first video and then look at the second and think it’s a lie,” said his mother. “He’s a child. He’s a 14-year-old boy. He’s very young,” she says.

According to a study released last year,”Nearly 44 percent of gay male participants said they had been bullied in the previous year, compared with 26 percent of heterosexuals who reported the same.

For girls, 40 percent of lesbians indicated they had been bullied in the past year, while just over 15 percent of heterosexuals reported such. About 35 percent of bisexual and mostly homosexual guys had been bullied and about 25 percent of their female counterparts.”

A U.S. government study, titled Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide, published in 1989, found that LGBTQIA youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people.

As for Mowry, on his facebook page he writes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”‘

A facebook page has been set up to help counter the cyber bullying Mowry has been experiencing since his video went viral.

Read the full ABC News Interview HERE.

To find out how you can get involved in the fight against school bullying educate yourself. Stand up! Find out about creating a Gay-Straight Alliance in your school,  and share your voice, your expertise, time or resources. Contact the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition, a network  made up of students, parents, educators and others working across the Gem State to make Idaho schools safer places for everyone.

“A million reasons to be here”: Jonah Mowry’s Message To the World

Last August, 14-year-old Jonah Mowry wrote on an index card that he was down to one friend. It’s safe to say that today he has a world full of them. Thanks to celebrity blogger Perez Hilton and others, Mowry’s heartbreaking tale of bravery in the face of homophobia and hate has taken the internet by storm.

“I’m not going anywhere, because I’m stronger than that. I have a million reasons to be here,” wrote Mowry in his video.

According to the American Medical Association, 30% of kids admit to being a bully, a bully victim or both. Across the country 160,000 kids stay home from school each day to avoid a bully.

Are you part of the “million reasons” to keep kids like Jonah Mowry “here”?

 

 

To find out how you can get involved in the fight against school bullying educate yourself. Stand up! Find out about creating a Gay-Straight Alliance in your school,  and share your voice, your expertise, time or resources. Contact the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition, a network  made up of students, parents, educators and others working across the Gem State to make Idaho schools safer places for everyone.

Meridian School District Adopts New Student Club Policy

It looks like a year-long struggle over a Gay-Straight Alliance club at Meridian’s Mountain View High School maybe over.  In a decision that not only paves the way for other Gay-Straight Alliances throughout the district but  protects other clubs as well, the Meridian School Board has approved a new student club policy that doesn’t contain two controversial clauses.

Krista Perry, Co-Chair of the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition said yesterday in a joint press release from Lambda Legal and the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition that, “”The safety and well-being of LGBT students, who are often targeted for bullying, must come first.  We commend the District for recognizing that.”

The issue appeared on the School Board’s radar after students at Mountain View attempted to form a GSA club in December.  Board members at the time said approval of the club’s application would violate a policy banning clubs that “advocates or approves sexual activity outside of marriage”.

After receiving a letter from Lambda Legal and the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition, the district amended their policy regarding student clubs, but created two clauses that remained a cause for alarm for equality advocates.

The first, a clause that required parental consent in order for a student to join a club, the second was a clause that would have created a “tier system” when it comes to school clubs. Under the purposed policy change, there would have been those clubs officially sanctioned by the school, such as a marketing club.  Other “non class connected” clubs like the GSA would have been considered unofficial.  Those clubs would still have been able to meet on campus but would not have received the same recognition, funding, or support of the first tier clubs.

“After hearing student testimony at a September meeting about the barriers that the proposed policy would create for LGBT youth, the Board removed the new requirement of parental permission and the exemption for favored clubs,” said the press release.

The Board approved the newest version of the policy on Tuesday night.

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Peter Renn says the move will help make Meridian Schools safer places for everyone, “We hope that it is crystal clear to students that they can form Gay-Straight Alliances without unlawful barriers standing in their way.  We applaud the District for doing the right thing by dropping the introduction of novel requirements, like parental permission for joining a club, that would have undermined the ability of LGBT students to protect themselves and others from hostility and violence. Other schools should take note.”

MAKE IT BETTER NOW! Parents of Jamey Rodmeyer say it’s time to “stop the bullies.”

By now you have probably seen the heartbreaking “It Gets Better” video of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer.  Rodmeyer, the victim of endless taunting and harassment over his sexuality, committed suicide early Sunday morning. Just a few days before,  he facebooked a plea for help: “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens..What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”  His last facebook post and prayer was a line from a Lady Gaga song: “Don’t forget me when I come crying to Heaven’s door.”

As news of his death spread over the Internet, the homemade video has appeared hundreds, if not thousands, of times.  Tonight, his parents, Tracy and Tim Rodemeyer tell WGRZ-TV in New York that “they are speaking out to help others avoid the nightmare they’re going through right now.”

Jamey had just started high school and on the outside appeared excited. His parents say they thought the bullying had gotten better. But Tracy says Jamey’s friends  say that wasn’t the case. “They saw that the bullying was still happening, but Jamey was handling it well,” says Tracy. “It was nothing that he or anybody was concerned on.”

“Do you think it just got to the point where he just couldn’t handle it anymore?” WRGZ-TV reporter Josh Boose asks Tim, Jamey’s dad. “Yeah, I think so,” Tim replies. “I think that’s what happened. He fooled everybody. He put on a brave face and I wish he wouldn’t have.”

Now Jim and Tracy are asking other parents to “teach their children to stand up for themselves and their friends and stop the bullies from bullying people.”

(Watch the Full Interview HERE!)

Jamey’s death has sparked a conversation over whether or not young LGBTQ individuals should have to wait until “It gets better.”  The hugely successful video campaign launched last year by advice columnist Dan Savage and his partner has no doubt save countless lives with thousands of video stories available on youtube and other outlets, but some wonder if it isn’t time to make it better now.

Here in Idaho there are only a handful of Gay Straight Alliances in our Junior high and senior high schools. If the Meridian School Board is any indication of the rest of the state,  it doesn’t look like the rural conservative christian fascist mindset is going to let the clubs organize easily. (That doesn’t mean we should give up however.)

For over 5 years Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour and others have been working on adding sexual and gender identity anti-discrimination language to the Idaho Human Rights amendment.  Again, the conservative fascist mindset, along with politicians who have a bigger eye on the votes then they do on Idaho’s children, have refused to give the bill much of a chance.

So what do we do?  How do we answer the call to make it better now?  Right now?  A few years ago I sat in as a guest speaker for a class of social worker students.  One of the most thoughtful questions asked was what do you say to kids who call each other “fag or queer?”  One of the solutions the class came up with was that such language was no different then students calling each other racial epithet or any other disrespectful slur, you don’t tolerate it.  You call them on it.  You explain the hurtful meaning and perhaps you assign them to watch stories like Jamey’s.

As parents you go to the school at the first sign of bullying and you demand the school do something.  If that doesn’t work, call the state school superintendents office.  If you are still ignored speak out!  Call the media,  spread the word through facebook and other outlets like the Idaho Agenda and Diversity. We too have a silent majority and it’s time we started speaking out.

If you are a student who is being bullied, talk to someone in authority like a teacher or principal about it. If you aren’t being heard then please consider either getting in touch with either the Idaho Safe School’s Coalition or a club like Lion’s Pride Cubs for advice. If you are  in the Magic Valley area email the Idaho Agenda at idahoagenda@gmail.com and we can put you in touch with someone who can listen and perhaps even be an advocate on your behalf.

Last but not least, if you are really concerned about the rise in student bullying then get involved! There is no reason why every high school in Idaho doesn’t have a Gay Straight Alliance club. There is no reason why, even as an adults, we should tolerate the bullying of the Idaho legislature, employers, landlords or from anybody else. Talk to your kids, even if they are straight, about orginizing a GSA club in your school and this fall call everyone one you know and join in the campaign to help change Idaho’s Human Rights Amendment.

Sometimes the solutions sound so repetitive we tend to  ignore them but it’s a lot easier to sound like a broken record then it is to see another broken life lost to homophobia and hate. Lets not let another life be broken. Lets make it better NOW!

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