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Bullied gay student who fired stun gun is expelled

Seventeen-year-old Darnell "Dynasty" Young, who is openly gay, says he's been taunted and bullied for months by fellow students.

A gay student who said he fired a stun gun in the air at school when bullies threatened him has been expelled, according to the school district.

Darnell “Dynasty” Young, a junior at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, may return to school in the district on Jan. 7, 2013, Indianapolis Public Schools said Tuesday in an e-mail statement.

 


Young, 17, said bullies hounded him daily. The harassment escalated on April 16, when a group surrounded him at school and threatened to beat him up, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Young took the stun gun, which he had stashed in his backpack for a few weeks, and fired it off in the air. The students dispersed, but within minutes, school police had arrested Young.

"My point was not to hurt anybody … the purpose was to back them off. I didn’t know what else to do," he told msnbc's NewsNation on Monday.

The district said it had accepted the decision of an examiner, who presided over Young’s hearing last week, to expel him.

“While the district does not condone bullying, it also does not allow weapons to be brought on our school campuses for any reason. Students who violate this rule will be held accountable,” Mary Louise Bewley, director of the district’s Office of School and Community Relations, said in the e-mail statement.

When reached by phone on Tuesday, Young declined to comment. His mother, Chelisa Grimes, said she couldn’t believe her son had been expelled.

"They really kicked him out," she told the newspaper.

Grimes said that she had given her son -- who transferred to the school last year -- the stun gun for protection, saying school authorities weren’t doing enough to protect him.

“I had to do something to protect my child. I was in fear of losing my child, either at the hands of the bullies or either at the hands of himself," she told msnbc's NewsNation.

Principal Larry Yarrell earlier said the school had tried to look into the bullying reports, but Young was not always able to identify all of those who had harassed him. He said they had interviewed staff and students, and he had also recommended that Young “tone down” his accessories.

Carolyn Laub, Executive Director of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, denounced the district's decision.

“Dynasty, like many other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people, was pushed out of school by an administration that failed to keep him safe and by school discipline policies that remove students instead of resolve the problem,” Laub said in an e-mail statement. “When schools use a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to school discipline, they unfortunately reinforce an environment of fear and punishment and fail to create a climate of inclusion, safety, and respect for all students.”

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