If I want to be a cheerleader, I’m a cheerleader!
It seems that 2010 is trying to be the year of school bullying in America. From Minnesota to Indiana, bullying has resulted in tragedy, with youth who were picked on because of their perceived sexual orientation driven to suicide.
In another instance, outside of Toledo, Ohio, an 11-year-old was picked on by his classmates mercilessly. That student? Tyler Wilson. And he tells a local ABC news channel that students would wait for him after school, teasing him and taunting him, and eventually physically harassing him so bad, that Tyler had his arm broken.
Why would bullies do this?
Because Tyler is a member of a local cheerleading squad (which means he’s more lucky< than other boys who wanted to be cheerleaders), and other kids in his class wanted to give him hell for it. Beating youth up because of their perceived sexual orientation, or beating kids up because they break gender stereotypes? Both types of bullying are closely related, and both deserve to be condemned by school administrators, by teachers, by fellow classmates, and by the community. And both types of bullying illustrate more than ever why Congress needs to act on the Safe Schools Improve Act, to make sure that students like Tyler don’t have to fear for their physical safety just by attending school.
Tyler, for his part, is a pretty damn awesome child. Take a look at his interview with the local ABC affiliate. Amidst a broken arm and lots of name-calling, Tyler says that no bully is going to stop him from being a cheerleader.
"It feels horrible that they can’t accept me for who I am. If I want to be a cheerleader, I’m a cheerleader," Tyler said. "I’m going to keep going, I’m going to make a lifestyle out of it," Tyler has also been getting support from male cheerleaders from around the state of Ohio after the incident.