WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the on-campus assault of a gay 15-year-old student caught on cell phone video, more than 4,000 people have joined a campaign on Change.org calling upon the Union-Scioto School District in Chillicothe, Ohio, to pass an anti-bullying policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
Bret Thompson launched the campaign on Change.org after the assault, which no one stepped in to stop. The 15-year-old’s attacker received only a three-day suspension for the assault.
“I started this petition on Change.org because I know Ohio and this attack does not reflect our values,” said Thompson. “Every child has the right to learn in a safe environment, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The Union-Scioto Ohio School District has adopted anti-harassment policies that include sex, race, color, national origin, religion, and disability, but have not specifically moved to protect against harassment or bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The school administrators should be ashamed of their response,” said Thompson. “If they won’t send a message to their student body that this is unacceptable, we’ll just have to send a message to them.”
Thompson’s campaign also calls for the expulsion of the attacker. Rebecca Collins, the victim’s mother, told reporters she wants criminal charges pressed against the attacker – including federal hate crime charges.
“It’s clear from the huge support for Bret Thompson’s campaign on Change.org that Ohio citizens want school districts to ensure that schools are safe for all students, including LGBT students” said Joe Mirabella, organizing manager for Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change. “Change.org is all about empowering anyone, anywhere, to take action on the issues they care about, and it is remarkable how much support Thompson has been able to recruit for his campaign in just a few days.”