Michael Hamar

Office of Civil Rights to Investigate Anti-Gay Bullying in York County, Virginia Schools.

Filed By Michael Hamar | March 31, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: anti-gay bigotry, anti-gay bullying, Christian Taylor, public education, religious based discrimination, teen suicide

I have written previous posts about the tragic suicide of Christian Taylor several times in taylor2.jpgthe past both here on The Bilerico Project and my personal blog.

Among other things, Christian was called "gay," "faggot," and "queer." His principal tormentor also told him to "kill himself and get it over with." Unfortunately, the York County School division did nothing to stop the bullying that ultimately caused Christian Taylor to take his own life last Memorial weekend.

Worse yet, in my opinion, both the school division and the county appear to be endeavoring to intimidate Christian's mother, Alise Williams, and his siblings in retaliation for a state court lawsuit that Williams filed against various school officials, including the school principal and an assistant principal.

Sadly, it's all too typical of senior school bureaucrats who think they are above the law to seek to intimidate and retaliate against who dare to stand up to them.

Fortunately this sad story is taking new positive twists in two ways. First, the U.S. Army is transferring the Williams family away from this area and the clutches of the York County schools. Second, the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights ("OCR") has advised Alise Williams that it has decided to investigate the school division based on her complaint concerning the bullying and abuse inflicted on Christian and the retaliation that continues to go on against Christian's family. A portion of the letter Williams received from OCR is set out below.

Opening an investigation does not guarantee a decision in favor of Christian's mother and family. However, it is a promising start and could lead to the issuance of a right to sue letter granting Alise Williams to sue the school division and others in federal court.

The last such case I was involved in was some years ago in Virginia Beach. In that case the party bringing suit was ultimately vindicated and, among other things, won personal monetary judgments in her favor. One can only hope that the same will hold true in this instance.

Meanwhile, I hope that Williams can hold up to what appears in my view to be concerted efforts at intimidation and retaliation by the school division and other units of the York County government bureaucracy.

I spoke with Alise Williams on Wednesday evening and further updates will be provided as this story continues to develop.

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Lisa Williams | March 31, 2011 5:05 PM

Oh you know it it takes alot to ntimidation me and with one son dead and my others being bullied at Grafton High and Middle I will not shutup and let this pass, they have a job to do and I will if I have to force them to, I cannot POLICE my kids or other kids in a school as I dont work for them but they do and if they dont or cant treat ALL the kids the same then they need NOT be around kids at all....