NEW YORK — February 12th, 2010 marks the second anniversary of slain teen, Lawrence King, an eighth-grader from Ventura, CA, who in 2008 was shot in the head and killed by a classmate because of his perceived sexual orientation and gender expression.
WHAT: Local organizations and groups are holding events and are urged to remember Lawrence King by hosting a vigil to honor his life and raise awareness about preventing violence and bullying in our schools.
WHO: Local coalitions of youth, advocacy and community groups.
WHERE: Locations to be held around the country on Feb 12, 2010. Register or locate a vigil online at www.rememberinglawrence.org.
WHEN: 5:00-6:30pm (Local Time)
WHY: King’s tragic story highlights the need for strong laws, policies, and programs to keep our young people safe. His death is not an isolated incident and it underscores a broader problem of bullying and harassment in our schools based on actual and perceived sexual orientation and gender expression.
A 2007 study conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that more than 9 out of 10 LGBT middle school students surveyed (91%) said they experienced harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, 59% experienced physical harassment and a startling 39% said they had been physically assaulted, nearly twice as many as in high school (20%). That same study found that more than 8 out of 10 LGBT middle school students (82%) reported hearing homophobic epithets frequently or often from other students in school -- a higher percentage than high school students (73%). Perhaps most shocking, 63% of LGBT middle school students had heard school staff make homophobic remarks.