Michael Crawford

Gay Student Shot at CA Junior High School

Filed By Michael Crawford | February 13, 2008 3:12 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay rights, gay youth, hate crimes against LGBT people


A fifteen year old gay boy was shot by a fellow student at an Oxnard, CA junior high school. The victim was reportedly openly gay and was regularly harassed by other students.

A student at an Oxnard junior high school shot another classmate Tuesday in front of two dozen other students who were settling into their first-period English class, police said.

The 15-year-old victim was rushed to St. John's Regional Medical Center, where he was initially listed in critical condition. By day's end, his condition was described as improving.

"He's gone from very critical to a little bit better," said Oxnard police spokesman David Keith. "He's actually communicating with personnel at the hospital."

The boy's alleged assailant ran from the E.O. Green Junior High School and was apprehended nearby a few minutes later by Oxnard and Port Hueneme police officers.

The shooting was not gang-related, said Keith, who added that the school had not been a particular trouble spot before.

"It looked like it was personal between the two of them," he said, declining to elaborate.

Some students said the victim, whose name was not disclosed, sometimes wore makeup and feminine jewelry and had declared himself gay. They said he was frequently taunted by other boys and had been involved in an argument with the alleged shooter, an eighth-grader who also was not named, and others Monday.

During the lunchtime argument, one of the boys shouted at Tuesday's victim, "You better watch your back," said one student who witnessed the encounter.

This says a whole lot about our current political and social climate in which kids think its perfectly okay to shoot another kid because of his sexual orientation. There is no way that the anti-gay evangelicals and conservative Republicans who preach day and night against LGBT Americans can escape culpability in this attempted murder.

Of course, what we will get from them, if anything, is more fire and brimstone aimed LGBT people.

Much love: Joe. My. God.

[ED NOTE:] The young student has been declared brain dead. His alleged attacker is in custody and will be charged with murder. The Los Angeles Times has a truly heartbreaking story with reactions from classmates.

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This says a whole lot about our current political and social climate in which kids think its perfectly okay to shoot another kid because of his sexual orientation. There is no way that the anti-gay evangelicals and conservative Republicans who preach day and night against LGBT Americans can escape culpability in this attempted murder.

You hit the nail on the head, Michael. When you demonize and belittle a group a people, it makes violent acts like this one that much easier for people to do.

When people say that anti-gay rhetoric doesn't matter or have a real effect, all they need to do is look at this story.

This does say a lot about the social climate in the schools. I am a public high school teacher. I see the kids trying to express themselves. However, when I get a student that is pushing the limits of certain gay stereotypes, I try to talk to them.
It great that they want to express themselves, but they need to watch their personal safety. I know that he should be allowed to express himself as he pleases. Some people are going to try to do something about it though.
He didn't die, fortunately. The next time, he might not be so lucky. The shooter would have gone to jail for a long time but he would be dead.

Some people will say that I am wrong and full of shit for my views. I would rather my students a little repressed than dead.

I totally understand what Paula is saying, but sometimes hiding under the radar is not an option. I was harassed from 5th grade through High School almost on a daily basis. Teachers did nothing. I was not a total flamer but I was not butch either. I hated school and could not wait for it to be over. I wish more could be done about bullying, but unless you are the one being bullied you have no idea how it feels. Even with the anti-bully rules at schools little is being done. I had to grow a thick skin and at age 37 it is still hard to make friends, trust people and forget the taunts and name calling of years gone by.

This student has just died. It is a horrible thing.

Some people claim that the political messages and maneuvers of Washington politicians don’t count. This tragic shooting proves how wrong they are. When the Democrats and Republicans gutted ENDA and then dropped both it and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill and refused to repeal Billarys DOMA and DADT they sent a strong message of support to bigots. They said that we don’t count and they don’t want to be bothered with during the election period. In Ventura one little pig got the message loud and clear and tried to murder a young gay man.

I agree that this swine was influenced by bigots but that only tells me that should indicted and harshly treated as well. If his church was preaching hate they should lose their tax exempt status and also be indicted. These murdering swine should be treated as ruthlessly as possible. If that wrecks their lives so much the better.

This murder points up the need for national demonstrations to demand the passage of the Matthew Shepard Gate Crimes Bill, the real ENDA (before Barney and the Republicans raped it) along with the repeal of the Clintons DOMA and DADT. We’ll need a militant massive campaign to win our agenda, because it’s obvious that the Republicans and Democrats don’t give a damn about our lives.

Sageweb is right. The child did die. That is tragic.
I don't tell students that they should stay under the radar, I just tell them to be careful. There are some not nice people in the world. I tell them if they are being harassed or threatened, come to my classroom. I can do something about it.
I have to watch myself. I am not really supposed to address things like this with the students.
This little 14 year old jerk that shot him will probably be in custody until he turns 18. Then he will be on the streets, again.
We don't actually know what led up to the shooting.
I assume that it was because it was due to his sexual orientation. But, we don't know for sure. That will come out in trial.
Phil, you never had me as a teacher. Had I been your teacher, I would have stopped as much as I could.

I suspect we'll discover that Lawrence King was targeted not just for being gay, but for being effeminate as well. (A previous story in one of the California papers looked at how high school kids differentiate being gay (i.e. straight-acting -- not a big deal to many kids) and being a fag, i.e. effeminate (definitely not cool to many kids).

I'd like Barney Frank and all those others who insist gender expression has nothing to do with sexual orientation -- and thus doesn't need protecting -- to look King's parents in the eye and try telling them that.

This is a truly sad situation. The other day it was a transwoman killed in the Bronx, now a student in school.

This is all so senseless and stupid. It is bad enough when adults do this sort of thing, but when a child does it, it is just even more tragic. Not only is a life taken, but another life is ruined, not counting the grieving parents and family.

The parents of the killer should also be arrested, for having a gun in a place where the child could get at it.

Paula, hate to say it, but no, there is very little you can do.

I was beaten, teased, and closed to raped on more then one occasion on school grounds... I told every teacher who would listen... and got nothing. Because none of them saw it happen, because there were not allowed to put cameras in the washrooms. Unless your school allows you to expel students on the word of another, there is nothing you can do.

I learned to go 9 hours without peeing, I NEVER drank water at school, all so I would not have to go to the washroom. I had to do this because every bully in the school, and yours, knows where they can do things without being seen by teachers.

Staff washrooms were the single greatest bullying problem in my school. If you want to help the most, make sure every staff member uses student washrooms as much as possible.

kirkjobsluder | February 14, 2008 11:45 AM

And people wonder why I'm a radical queer, why I think it matters, why I insist that we need support networks in every community and every school, why I get pissed off when gender gets dropped from the agenda, why I get fucking spitting mad at the casual bigotry that I swim in like a fish in a sewer and some days, I can't just bite my tongue and let it slide.

I do believe that teachers can make a change, if it's important enough to them. I was once a victim of bullying and will soon be a teacher. I realize there is a lot of pressure on teachers to do other things, add to that a fear of speaking out particularly if the issues involve queer students and especially teachers. Paula, I understand your concern and think it's totally reasonable, but I feel like your message accidentally legitimizes or tolerates hate violence. It makes it the student's responsibility to not be victimized. When adults took that approach to me (making it my responsibility alone to defend myself), it was profoundly depressing and alienating.

Children and youth typically have no choice: they are forced to go to school. Adults have an obligation and responsibility to protect children from harrassment and bullying. Even if it takes standing up for change in the school culture, dealing with angry parents, risking our jobs, we need to stand up for and protect our students. I don't know if I'll be able to risk my job... but I shouldn't have to. If enough people have the courage to speak out now, things will only get better.

this act ..and the abuse by the other children are typical. They don't realize that the victim
was just expressing himself. I understand the abuse..but the shooting speaks volumes on the shooter...to hate that deep either shows a history
with the 2 boys or peer/family influence on this child. In transexuals even the gay/lesbian community often doesn't accept them..and even the transexual community has problems with each other..post-op vs pre-op. Some of my gay friends have married..to fit in and as in 'Making Love' ruin themselves and their family just for that decision. People that don't like themselves have an insurmountable task to overcome...but..the longest journey starts with the first step.

At a loss for the loss of a beautiful person and the ruin of another even before he shot.