Darnell Young, left, with his mother, Chelisa Grimes, and his twin brother, Darrell.
Darnell "Dynasty" Young is an openly gay 17-year-old boy attending Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Star reports that since transferring to the school, Young has been the victim of homophobic bullying. His classmates have followed him home from the bus stop, threatened to beat him up, and thrown rocks at him.
His mother, Chelisa Grimes, was worried about her son and contacted the school but claims, "They said the problem was he was too flamboyant." Young likes to go to school wearing his mother's accessories, including her purses and rings. "I had to do something," Grimes said. "They were throwing rocks at him." So she gave her son a taser gun for protection. When Young was cornered at school by his bullies, he shot the taser gun into the air to scare them off. It worked, but it wasn't long before school security intervened, and Young now faces expulsion.
"All day I'd be on my guard," Young said about his bullying. "It never got better; it always got worse." It got so bad that after rumours started circulating that he performed sex acts in the school bathroom, he considered suicide but in the end realized, "God gave me this life. I love life. I'm trying to be strong."
School principal Larry Yarrell thinks the bullying would stop if Young "toned down" his physical appearance.
"If you wear female apparel, then kids are kids and they're going to say whatever it is that they want to say," Yarrell said about Young's bullying. "Because you want to be different and because you choose to wear female apparel, it may happen. In the idealistic society, it shouldn't matter. People should be able to wear what they want to wear."
With a principal like Yarrell, the students at Arsenal Tech don't have much hope. He's an educator who needs to be educated -- Young isn't choosing to be different, he simply is.
A decision about whether he should be expelled will be reached within the next few days.