Students Threatened For Being Gay Feel School Officials Not Addressing Situation Appropriately
CONCORD, N.C.- Some students at Central Cabarrus High School say their association with the Gay-Straight Alliance campus club has led to harassment and bullying for most of the school year. But recently, club members and other male students who have a strong dislike for one another, took their conflicts and disagreements to another level when sophomore student and GSA club president Jessyca Blair says she was physically attacked by a male student during school hours. "Him and his friends walking by me, just nailed me," said Blair. "I don't even think -- I'm pretty sure it was not an accident cause it had force to it." When asked to illustrate how Blair was hit, she demonstrated a closed fist to her arm.
Parents of another club member, freshman student Mercedes Torres, feel like the school hasn't taken their concerns seriously. Prior to the physical attack that took place on Friday, Janny Molina-Zambrano talked to school officials about club posters being ripped from the wall and physical threats being made to the girls. "They said, OK, we'll take it from here," said Molina-Zambrano, "and we can't tell you what's going to happen but we can tell you that we will fix it today."
It's the next day when the alleged physical attack happened to Blair. And when Jessyca told school principal Natasha Thompson about what the male student did to her while walking to class, Thompson initially expressed concern and said she would look into the situation. But according to the parents and students, the investigation consisted of only calling the father of the boy accused of the physical attack. When the father told the school that his son denied the allegations, that was the end of investigation. In the eyes of the parents, they fear for the girls safety. "It sucks cause I've never been this scared at school," said Blair, "and I like coming to school but this makes me not want to come to school anymore."
The Cabarrus County School public information officer, Ronnye Boone, says they take bullying and harassment allegations seriously. "Cabarrus County schools is committed to making sure that all of our students have a safe learning environment that encourages diversity and tolerance and respect." Boone says that if parents feel the school is not taking the harassment, threats and now physical attack seriously, there is further help for them. "We want to know where there are concerns and we want to be able to resolve them."
There is an appeal process established by the school board that addresses these types of parental concerns. If they feel the school may be dismissing the situation, a letter can be written to district officials outlining what has and hasn't been done to help their kids. But while that takes place, school life for the students is difficult. "We're allowed to be safe their too," said Blair. "We shouldn't be scared, we shouldn't have to deal with possibly getting hit just because of our sexuality."