Deputy Public Defender William Quest said the school is at fault for not taking action when conflict began between Lawrence King and his murderer. Brandon McInerney , is soon to be arraigned for the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Lawrence King.
“Educators should have moved aggressively to quell rising tensions between the two boys, which began when King openly flirted with McInerney, said Deputy Public Defender William Quest. Instead, administrators were so intent on nurturing King as he explored his sexuality, allowing him to come to school wearing feminine makeup and accessories, that they downplayed the turmoil that his behavior was causing on campus, Quest said.”
The school responds:
“School Supt. Jerry Dannenberg strongly disagreed with such allegations. ‘School officials definitely were aware of what was going on, and they were dealing with it appropriately,’ Dannenberg said Wednesday. King was constitutionally entitled to wear makeup, earrings and high-heeled boots under long-established case law, Dannenberg said.”
McInerney may be tried as an adult. McInerney has been held in Juvenile Hall since the shooting, in lieu of $700,000 bail.
LGBT advocates urge D.A. to charge Lawrence King murderer as minor. Prosecutors should not add to the tragedy
A coalition of 27 groups fighting for LGBT rights is urging Ventura County prosecutors to try 14-year-old Brandon McInerney in juvenile court, and not as an adult. McInerney has been charged as an adult in the February 12 murder of his E.O. Green Middle School classmate, 15-year-old Lawrence King. Students say McInerney targeted King because the victim was openly gay and because he wore women’s jewellery and makeup.
LGBT civil rights organizations, including Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Transgender Law Center, have delivered a short statement to Ventura County District Attorney Gregory D. Totten, calling on him to try McInerney as a juvenile.
“We are saddened and outraged by the murder of junior high school student Lawrence King,” the statement reads. “At the same time, we call on prosecutors not to compound this tragedy with another wrong “we call on them to treat the suspect as a juvenile, not as an adult.
“The facts in this matter seem clear: one boy killed another in a climate of intolerance and fear about sexual orientation and gender expression. The alleged perpetrator, who turned 14 years old less than three weeks before the shooting, should be held accountable for his actions. But we support the principles underlying our juvenile justice system that treat children differently than adults and provide greater hope and opportunity for rehabilitation. In addition, public safety is not served by treating children as adults. According to research released by the Centers for Disease Control in 2006, children transferred to adult court are more likely to re-offend than those committing similar offenses who remain in the juvenile justice system. California law does not require District Attorneys to prosecute 14 year-olds as adults, even in circumstances such as these, and we oppose them doing so. We are issuing this joint statement because we believe so strongly in principles of justice that protect all our young people and know that, even in the face of strong emotions, we should not abandon them. We refuse to let our sense of outrage blind us to the fact that the suspect is only 14 years old.
“Prosecuting the alleged perpetrator as an adult will not bring Lawrence King back nor will it make schools safer for LGBT youth. We must respond to this tragedy by strengthening our resolve to change the climate in schools, eliminate bigotry based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and hold schools responsible for protecting students against discrimination and physical harm.”
A day of silence for Lawrence King. Students bring attention to lesbian and gay harassment in schools
U.S. students dedicated Friday – April 25 – to the memory of King during GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) 12th annual National Day of Silence. Students observed a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender name-calling, bullying and harassment in middle schools, high schools and college campuses.
GLSEN’s 2005 National School Climate Survey found that 4 out of 5 of LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and 29% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. Additionally, 64.3% of LGBT students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 40.7 because of their gender expression.
Lawrence King’s murder has created shock-waves throughout the U.S.
Support continues to grow online with mourners networking and reaching out to others. Over 200 messages have been left on the website created to remember him.
The 8th-grader was declared brain dead after being shot in the head – inside a classroom – and one of his classmates is behind bars. The alleged attacker will be charged with murder.
The original report from the Los Angeles Times:
“Some students said the victim, whose name was not disclosed, sometimes wore makeup and feminine jewelry and had declared himself gay. They said he was frequently taunted by other boys and had been involved in an argument with the alleged shooter, an eighth-grader who also was not named, and others Monday. During the lunchtime argument, one of the boys shouted at Tuesday’s victim, ‘You better watch your back,’ said one student who witnessed the encounter.
Police said they had not determined a motive for the crime. Keith said investigators had also heard that the victim was gay but did not know whether that was true or whether it figured in the attack. They were sorting through several other possibilities as well, he said: ‘Which are true and which are rumor, we’re trying to figure out.'”
Article adapted by ProudParenting.com from original press release.
Images: RememberLarry.com; Associated Press