Gay Middle School Student Killed in Oxnard, CA School Shooting

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For those that believe that LGBTQ folks don't need protection, read what happened INSIDE of a middle school. A child was killed because he was different. Please do what you can to stand for children, especially children who are 'different'. Hate crimes, gay bashings, violence toward LGBTQ and non-gender-conforming individuals happen every day. (media statement below)

Media Statement – For Immediate Release
February 14, 2008

Contacts:
Ryan Schwartz
GroundSpark (CA)
415.641.4616 x305
rschwartz@respectforall.org

Cathy Renna
Renna Communications (NY)
917.757.6123
cathy@rennacommunications.com

Gay Middle School Student Killed in Oxnard, CA School Shooting; Hate-Crime Charges Have Been Filed

Statement by Debra Chasnoff, Academy Award®-Winning Documentary Filmmaker, Leading Expert on Creating LGBT-Inclusive Learning Environments

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Today eighth-grader Lawrence King, 15, of Oxnard, CA, was declared brain dead after a school shooting on Tuesday. King was shot twice by a fellow student while in class at E.O. Green Junior High School. Prosecutors are charging the assailant with murder with a hate-crime enhancement. King remains on a ventilator for organ donation. The victim was openly gay and was reported to have occasionally worn feminine clothing and makeup to school. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that King’s peers attribute his attack to his open sexual orientation.

Media Statement by Debra Chasnoff, GroundSpark Executive Director and Academy Award®-winning documentary filmmaker:

"The murder of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old openly gay student at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, CA, is a terrible tragedy. It is a horrific reminder that harassment of and violence toward gay, lesbian and gender non-conforming students is still a serious problem in schools across the country and it starts at younger ages than most adults realize. We wish we could say we've come a long way since 1998 when Matthew Shepard was murdered when he was in college just because he was gay. But now, similarly-motivated hate crimes are occurring in middle schools.

Today, we mourn the loss of this young student and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. We also commit ourselves to redoubling our efforts to prevent tragedies like this from ever occurring again. One of the most important things we can do is support educators and parents to pro-actively help young students cultivate understanding and compassion for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender expression.

Ten years ago we released the educational documentary It's Elementary-Talking About Gay Issues in School and it helped spark a movement to make schools safer places for all children by encouraging K-8 teachers to weave respectful information about LGBT people into their lesson plans. Ironically, this week we are re-releasing this film because it's time for a new generation of teachers to get on board to ensure that their schools and classrooms are safe for all students, including those like Lawrence King who don't fit neatly in a box of the stereotype of how boys are supposed to be. We call on all educators in California, and across the nation, to recognize the seriousness of anti-gay bullying and take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all their students.”

Debra Chasnoff is available for interviews through the above media contacts.

More information about It’s Elementary can be found online at <<http://www.groundspark.org/films/elementary/index.html>>. Review copies are also available.

About GroundSpark
GroundSpark creates visionary films and dynamic education campaigns that move individuals and communities to take action for a more just world. The Respect For All Project, a program of GroundSpark, facilitates the development of inclusive schools and communities that are free from bias and prejudice by providing resources, support and training to educators and youth service providers.

 

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