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Bullying: Asher Brown

Updated on August 21, 2019
abbykorinnelee profile image

Bachelors Organizational Behavioral Psychology background in Autism, Mental Health, Buss. Psych. Divinely connected. Med Tech Nurse staffing

13-year-old Asher Brown
13-year-old Asher Brown

Asher Brown was a 13-year-old straight A 8th grader at a middle school in Houston, Texas. In 2010 he shot himself in the head after being a victim of constant harassment from four other students at Hamilton Middle school in Cypress-Fairbanks school district. The Brown family states he was "bullied to death".

Asher got picked on for his small size, his religion and because he didn't wear name brand clothing. The middle school-er was also accused of being gay. The kids would "perform" mock gay acts on Asher in his P.E. class, according to both of his parents.

The parents complained of the bullying behavior their son endured to the school and other middle school officials during the course of the last 18-months of the child's life. There concerns for their child were falling on what they termed "deaf ears". Many phone calls the mother made on behalf of her son were never even returned.

"We never had any indication that those children were disciplined at all," said Amy.

School officals claim they never recieved any concerns from the child's parents before the child's suicide. They claim that their were never any reports of the child being bullied. This statement upset the family and they further accused the school of protecting the bullies and the parents of the bullies.

"That's absolutely inaccurate — it's completely false," Amy Truong said. "I did not hallucinate phone calls to counselors and assistant principals. We have no reason to make this up. … It's like they're calling us liars."

David Truong said, "We want justice. The people here need to be held responsible and to be stopped. It did happen. There are witnesses everywhere."

School officials did acknowledge Amy Truong, the mother of Asher Brown, did email them to watch out for their son, but that it was for ongoing concerns and not in regards to bullying reported.

"We gave the names to the school and nothing was done. Nothing," David said.

"I said, 'Sir' -- I don't remember their names, the coaches -- 'Asher Brown or Killian Brown, our other son, they've been harassed, or they've been ganged up on.' I would use different words of what was done to them ...... "'We need to talk.' And there were no returns. Or I would go there, and when I would go there, I would even sometimes dress in a full suit to try to get a different response. No. They said, 'You don't have an appointment.'"

Asher had used his father's 9mm Beretta that was stored on one of the closet's shelves and left no note. The father, David Truong, found the boy's body after returning home from work.

Amy returned home to police sirens and yellow police tape around her house.

The parents claim that their child endured being called names and was harassed since coming into that school system two years prior. Because of this treatment he had stuck to a small group of boys who also suffered similar harassment. The most recent incident happened a day before the child's suicide.

Another student tripped Asher as he walked down a flight of stairs. When he hit the landing and went to pick up his backpack, the other child kicked his books everywhere. To further the abuse from the other child, he was than kicked down the remaining flight of stairs. School officials claimed that the incident was investigated and turned up no witnesses or video footage to collaborate the incident that was reported after the child's death.

Grieving mother
Grieving mother

School's Responsibility

Another parent, Nancy Brown, wasn't surprised that the school didn't respond to the concern's of Asher's parents.

"I talked to the teacher, her teacher, several times," (in regards to her daughter being bullied).

Nancy pulled her daughter out of Hamilton as a result of the lack of response of the school in the case of her daughter's bullying.

"They never called us to the school; they never met with us," Brown said.

Due to other parent's claims such as Nancy Browns, this is why they have decided to really come forward.

"I can't do anything to save my child anymore, but if I can help somebody else, I want to," Amy said.

The family discussed hiring a lawyer to file a lawsuit in the aftermath of their son's death. The school issue a statement shortly after:

"The district together with the Hamilton community is saddened by the death of Asher Brown...A district administrative team is conducting a thorough and involved investigation into the allegations of bullying... Although the investigation is not completed, the initial findings indicate that Asher's personal and family histories were very complicated."

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization in America, released a statement regarding Asher Brown's suicide.

"This young man had a wonderful life ahead of him, but he was 'bullied to death' because he was gay. This tragedy was preventable. We urge school districts and state legislatures everywhere to implement anti-bullying policies and laws that protect all students."

Since than, 42 states (including Texas) have instituted laws against bullying however a poll came out that deemed that these new laws were pretty much inaffective. Another issue being that many laws don't institute punishment guidelines for those that are doing the bullying.

Family's Expectations and the Aftermath

Hundreds of mourners assembled for Asher Brown outside Moore Elementary School in order to pay tribute to the victim and his family.

The Truong/Brown family only wishes that harassment of other students stops so no one else's child will suffer the way theirs did. Amy Truong speaks out,

"Our son is just the extreme case of what happens when (someone is) just relentless,"

To the bullies, she added, "I hope you're happy with what you've done. I hope you got what you wanted and you're just real satisfied with yourself."

Asher's mother remember's the morning he killed himself:

"I told him I loved him and I hoped he had a good day," said Amy Truong, parent of Asher Brown. "He said, 'I love you too.' He seemed fine."

An investigation by Harris county prosecutors had started investigating about the role, if any, bullying played in this child's suicide.

A new inititiave surfaced called "Asher's Rule" in memory of the child recently coming out as being gay to his parents who couldn't deal with the cruelty imposed on him by his peers and was being pushed to be passed as law.

After the death of Asher Brown, a new study stated that there was significant evidence that it shows that those that are young and lesbian, gay, bi, or transgender the mental health is greatly compromised. This is due to the fact they get a lot of harassment and bullying. The morning the child died the child had come out to his parents that he was gay.

This study measured 245 LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender) of young adults between the ages of 21 and 25. These students reported a greater rate of depression. They also reported the problem of a decrease of satisfaction in their life.

Scientists behind this study, following the trend of many parents and advocates, have stood up and have put pressure on the school systems to take some action. The issues that they are stating that need to be addressed are bullying, violence, social isolation of the LGBT community. There is a push from these professionals to implement programs in these schools to educate faculty and parents of the problems these kids are facing. There needs to be more support programs available for those that are the victims. Another aspect of implementing new policies is new antidiscrimination policies in these settings. This is a hate crime in my opinion.

Hate Crime Statistics

The following statistics are provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Hate Crimes Statistics for 2006.

  • Anti-LGBT crimes have increased by 18% over 2005
  • The FBI report has documented 1,195 incidents where the criminal's motivating factor of the hate crime was the victims’ sexual orientation (whether actual or percieved).
  • Crimes against LGBT account for 16% of all hate crimes in the United States

these statistics themselves are an expression of homophobic policy and procedure because LGBT statistics of hate crimes are not actually recorded in the FBI report.

Many hate crimes are UNDERREPORTED.

Many hate crimes are further classified wrongly as suicides or non-hate crimes.

The statistics ignore circumstances that rightly should have been reported and filed under LGBT hate crimes.

The NCAVP report in 2008 on anti-LGBT Hate Crimes shows a 24% increase in 2007 over 2006. In 2007, there were 2,430 victims.

There are actually four U.S. cities and regions that show an increase of 100% or more:

  1. Los Angeles at 100%
  2. Minnesota at 135%
  3. Kansas City at 142%
  4. Michigan at 207%

In 2008 there was an onslaught of hate crimes on LGBT youths. They were targeted for their sexual orientation and their gender presently. However the FBI reports that 11% in 2008 was the increase. In 2010 the statistics remained steady over the previous years numbers.

When it comes to the legal system, Lesser charges and reduced sentences have been given for hate crime offenders that show a legal system that isn't acknowledging or is refusing to acknowledge what is humane for all victims, despite their orientation. It is showing a trend of a bias even in the courtroom.

There hasn't been sufficient coverage in the United States media of these hate crimes and that coverage is rated poor at best. An average citizen doesn't have knowledge of victims being murdered for being gay since 1998. In 1998, they remember the murder of Mr. Shephard.

© 2012 Abby Rourk


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