Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Indiana Teenager Bullied To Death

Billy Lucas, Bullied to Death in Indiana

Greensburg, Indiana – Fifteen-year-old Billy Lucas, pushed beyond the limit by bullies at Greensburg High School, committed suicide on September 9.  His mother found his lifeless body hanging in the family barn.  Waves of regret are sweeping over the Indiana town, too little and too late for Billy, but, pray God, not too late for many other youth who are targeted by bullies because they are believed to be lesbian or gay.  Fox News 59 reports that Billy was harassed for being gay since the day he entered the troubled school.  Dillen Swango told reporters that Billy was singled out for being gay, harassed mercilessly with taunts like, “You are a piece of dirt,” and “You don’t deserve to live.”  Student Bobby Quinlan said, “He got a chair pulled out from him and was told to go hang himself.” The Greensburg school has a troubled past when it comes to bullying.  An anonymous graduate of Greensburg High, interviewed on Fox 59, said that he had been similarly hounded for being gay when he was Billy’s age, and reported the harassment to school officials, who did nothing with the information.  The former student is now 21, and counts himself lucky to have lived.  School Principal, Phillip Chapple, claimed not to know about the way Billy was targeted by bullies, but acknowledged to reporters that it was well-known that bullying was going on in the school.  Local people and concerned citizens across the nation are outraged that school officials tolerated bullying in the school.  Calls are being made by lawmakers to toughen Indiana’s anti-bullying law for schools.  Yet there are not plans to charge anyone for the anguish and harm done to Billy at Greensburg.  As is common in these instances, blame is shifted, apologies are muttered, flowers are sent to a grave, and, because this was a suicide, little change follows except the inestimable loss to family and friends of a fine young man who students say was dogged by harassment since he was in the fourth grade.  As quoted by Towelroad.com, Charles Robbins, Executive Director of the Trevor Project, the nation’s largest anti-teen suicide advocacy group, released this statement following Billy Lucas’s death: “We are saddened to once again hear of another young person who died of suicide as a result of school bullying. Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old at Greensburg High School stood out among the 630 students in the school because he was different. Other students perceived that Billy was gay and he was relentlessly tormented as a result.While the school district does have anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies, the policies do not specifically protect youth from harassment due to real or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression. Only eleven states in the country offer fully inclusive anti-harassment and anti-bullying education policies, and Indiana is not among them.” The Trevor Project offers a resource page listing warning signs of possible teen suicide, which may be accessed here. Students have opened a memorial page on Facebook, and readers are encouraged to visit the site.  Most of all, school officials must be compelled to institute a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for harassing behavior in their schools, and law makers in Indiana and around the nation must enact comprehensive, tough laws criminalizing bullying behaviors and school official negligence when they suspect bullying is taking place, but tacitly agree with the bad behavior by doing nothing to prevent it.  Billy Lucas’s death may have been his own act, but the bullies and impotent school officials who created the toxic environment for this needless suicide are clearly to blame.  What Billy Lucas suffered was an anti_LGBT hate crime, plain and simple.  The LGBTQ community and its allies must find the outrage within, strong enough to press for safe schools for everyone until change comes about in Greensburg and around the nation.  (The Unfinished Lives Team thanks Richard W. Fitch for contributing to this post).

September 15, 2010 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Blame the victim, Bullying in schools, gay teens, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Indiana, Legislation, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Mistaken as LGBT, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Remembrances, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Special Comments, Trevor Project | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 Comments

  1. […] show that we are listening.  To learn more about Billy Lucas and his tragedy, you can try this link or this one.  (I would also add that I live just down the highway from Greensboro, Indiana which […]

    Pingback by …like Bill Maher in drag. « Once Upon A TPM | September 23, 2010

  2. […] show that we are listening.  To learn more about Billy Lucas and his tragedy, you can try this link or this one.  (I would also add that I live just down the highway from Greensboro, Indiana which […]

    Pingback by …like Bill Maher in drag. « Once Upon A Paradigm | September 29, 2010

  3. […] high-profile “bullycide” case in Indiana since September.  Last month, the suicide of gay teen Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Indiana, touched off national attention to the issue of anti-LGBTQ bullying in […]

    Pingback by “Bullycide” Takes Life of Hoosier Teen « Unfinished Lives | October 26, 2010

  4. another person viktome of bulling how many are going to die for them to get th pic

    Comment by desiree brown | March 13, 2011

  5. These things have went on for years within the Greensburg. It is common practice for the teachers to join in with the students half the time with the taunting and teasing. I remember that from when I went to school there. Things never change in that community, EVERYONE in Greensburg jumped on the “no bulling bandwagon” after this tragic and heartbreaking incident happened…and now, well now very few in the community seem to acknoledge it. It is horribly tragic that this community STILL has not learned from this tragity! I know this for fact and see it everyday because I live in Greensburg Indiana. Greensburg Indiana has a long history of ridiculing ANYONE who is different unless their family is pillars of the community. This community I fear will never learn from their mistakes because they are so small minded and always have been.

    Comment by B | April 4, 2011

  6. Sorry for the loss

    Comment by Joe | June 5, 2011

  7. It’s so saD how bullying like this can take people’s lives.😦

    Comment by Lona yan | June 5, 2011

  8. It is but that just shows you how bullying can effect people.

    Comment by Joe | June 5, 2011

  9. Yeah it’s so saD how bullying like this can take someone’s life.😦

    Comment by Lona yan | June 5, 2011

  10. Lona Yan, yeah but that just shows you how bullying effects people.

    Comment by Joe | June 5, 2011

  11. […] […]

    Pingback by Child Abuse at its finest: - Page 9 | May 31, 2012

  12. What these kid(s) did to this child is not Bullying, people Name Bullying for EVERY Crime and that is Incorrect. This kid was Assaulted, it don’t make any difference whether he is gay or not gay. What is NOT Bullying? Damage Property, Threats, Stealing, Physical Attacks, Verbal Attacks, Assault, two (2) or more people that beats up another kid(s) is a group of people that forms a gang NOT BULLYING, Organized Crime, Stalking, Aggressive Behavior, etc.

    What is Bullying? Rumors, Teasing, Name Calling, Gossiping, Anonymous Texts.
    What is Cyber Bullying? Electronic Communications with Slander, Threats, Assault, Anonymous Texts, etc.

    Suicidal is a thought pattern before it commits The crime.

    Let’s Help Our Children before it get tooooo LATE. We travel to every city and community to get the WORD OUT about ANTI-BULLYING TEEN ROUGH-ING and this is the number (1) one rage in the society. Educating the public about correct information about Bullying because People Name EVERY Crime ‘Bullying’ and that is Incorrect; to have Resource Available for the Community. Our TEEN have some unresolved anger issues in their life and they are using their Mouth (teasing, gossiping, spitting, hollering, screaming), Hands (hitting, slapping, pinching, pulling, grabbing, stabbing, anonymous texts), Feet (kicking, stomping), and Body Weight (seating, pushing) to get our ATTENTION. http://www.AntiBullyingTeenRoughingFoundation.org

    Comment by starteenroughing | August 13, 2014


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