Lawrence's killing didn't get much national press, but then gay killings rarely do. Society seems to think of the killing of gays and lesbians as something that happens in back alleys on the seedy side of town. But listen up, America, these are your schools, and these are your kids:
Brandon McInerney, 14, who attended E.O. Green with King, has been charged with premeditated murder and will be tried as an adult. He is being held in Ventura County Juvenile Hall in lieu of $770,000 bail. McInerney could face 50 years to life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors added a hate crime allegation that could bring an additional one to three years.I encourage everyone to take a visit to The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Whether you are a parent, teacher, friend, or relative, you have an important part to play in ensuring that all of our children are safe. More from GLSEN:
Two of the top three reasons students say their peers are harassed in school are actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 Harris Interactive report commissioned by GLSEN. The top reason is physical appearance.GLSEN also lists many of the remembrance vigils scheduled this week for Lawrence King. Over 1,000 supporters came out for a vigil in Oxnard, Calif., where Lawrence was murdered. Other vigils are planned in California, D.C., Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Washington.
In the 2005 National School Climate Survey, nearly a fifth (17.6%) of LGBT students reported being physically assaulted at school in the past school year because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth (11.8%) because of their gender expression.
Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (64.3%) said they feel unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation and two-fifths (40.7%) because of their gender expression.
If you can't make it to a vigil, please do whatever you can to stop the hate and intolerance that exists in America today -- for the Lawrences and the Brandons of the world. You might just save someone's life.
UPDATE: Here's a long, sad look into the buildup of this terrible tragedy.