Tag Archives: boy

Dad charged with endangerment after boy skips church

The father of an 8-year-old boy who skipped church and was found alone at a store about a half-mile from his home in Ohio has been charged with child endangering.

The boy apparently walked on a busy highway to a Family Dollar store on April 30, Blanchester, Ohio, police said.

The boy’s father, 31-year-old Jeffrey Williamson, told police he went missing that evening, Police Chief Scott Reinbolt said. Williamson said he assumed the boy had gotten on an evening church bus with his four siblings when it pulled up at their house in Blanchester, 40 miles northeast of Cincinnati, shortly after 6 p.m. but he didn’t watch them board it, Reinbolt said.

The boy’s four siblings returned home on the church bus while police were at the home investigating.

Williamson is scheduled for a hearing in Clinton County Municipal Court on July 10. 

Williamson told the investigating police officer that night that his arrest was “ridiculous” because the store was “only 4 blocks away” from the family’s house, Reinbolt said in a statement.

A clerk at the Family Dollar store had called police to the store at about 8 p.m., but the boy couldn’t say where he lived, police said.

Joey’s story: With pride and determination, transgender man overcomes barriers to achieve goals

He would have been the first person in his family to graduate from high school, but an insurmountable barrier stood in his way: four credits of gym class.  The school would not give him a private place to change, and he couldn’t stand feeling like a “pervert” — a boy in the girls’ locker room. He gave up the diploma instead.

Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the Transgender Discrimination Study, a groundbreaking study of 6,450 transgender people was conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Published in 2011, it still stands as our most comprehensive look at the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. 

Its scope is breathtaking. Examining health, employment, family life, housing, public accommodations, identification documents, police and incarceration, and much more, the study’s authors concluded: “Transgender and gender non-conforming people face injustice at every turn — in childhood homes, in school systems that promise to shelter and educate, in harsh and exclusionary workplaces, at the grocery store, the hotel front desk, in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, before judges and at the hands of landlords, police officers, health care workers and other service providers.”

The report’s findings about education shed light on many of the other health and income disparities transgender people face.  People who expressed a non-traditional gender in grades K-12 experienced very high rates of harassment (78 percent), physical assault (35 percent) and sexual violence (12 percent), from both student peers and staff.  Six percent were expelled because of their gender identity or expression, and 15 percent left school or college because of the harassment they experienced.

Those statistics are reflected in Joey Clark’s story. 

“I went to two different high schools and at each one I was picked on a lot. I was picked on verbally for being different, and other students would spread rumors about me.  A few would try to physically hurt me, but I was able to protect myself in that way. I did not know at all how to protect myself emotionally.  They called me a lesbian and a freak, and I didn’t even know how to explain what I was at that time in my life.”

The statistics show that trans kids who drop out of high school end up with high rates of homelessness (48 percent), more involvement in sex work or other work in the underground economy, and — probably because of that — they’re far more likely to experience incarceration.  Trans drop-outs also have higher rates of HIV, use more drugs and alcohol, and more often attempt suicide than do trans people who manage to get their high school diploma.

Probably because he was so committed to being “a good father,” Joey followed a different path.  “I never want my kids to use me not getting a diploma as an excuse,” he said, “so I started taking my tests and received my high school equivalency diploma the year after I would have graduated.”

He tried to go on to tech school, but many of his high school tormenters had moved there, too. “I was the talk of the school.  Lots of people could not wait to point and tell anyone they could that I was born with female parts, but they did not say it that nice.  I found myself not being able to stand up yet.”
Here’s where Joey’s story illustrates another finding of Injustice at Every Turn:  Despite their traumatic experiences in high school, many more transgender people end up returning to college.  Injustice notes,   “Respondents reported considerably higher rates of educational attainment than the general population, with 47 percent receiving a college or graduate degree, compared to only 27 percent of the general population.”

Tired of dead-end jobs and wanting to teach his two children the importance of education, Joey tried again.  With the help of what he calls an “amazing” counselor and his local transgender support group, he figured out “not only what I wanted in life, but also how to feel ‘safe and valuable.’” He not only re-enrolled in tech school, but took on leadership roles as well. He helped start the LGBT Club on campus, became its president, and then stepped up to preside over the student senate.  

On May 17, 2014, Joey graduated from Moraine Park Technical College with an associate degree in Criminal Justice/Corrections and a GPA of 3.25. Besides continuing to be a great dad to his kids, his goal is to continue on to get his bachelor’s degree and work in or run an LGBT center in the Fond du Lac/Oshkosh area. He is also deeply committed to “doing all I can to help my transgender family to be happy and achieve equal rights.”

This PrideFest, Joey will be FORGE’s chief “free hugger.” Come by FORGE’s booth to receive your free hug sticker and congratulate Joey on his achievements.

Loree Cook-Daniels is policy and program director of FORGE, a national resource for transgender and elderly LGBT people that’s headquartered in Milwaukee.

‘X-Men’ director: Abuse suit a shakedown

The director of the upcoming “X-Men” film has denied allegations contained in a lawsuit that he raped an aspiring actor and model in 1999 and called the claims a shakedown.

Bryan Singer wrote in a statement released Thursday that he was avoiding promotional events for his upcoming film “X-Men: Days of Future Past” to avoid distracting from the movie and the work of its actors and crew.

“The allegations against me are outrageous, vicious and completely false,” Singer wrote. “I do not want these fictitious claims to divert any attention from `X-Men: Days of Future Past.’ “

The statement was released a week after Singer was sued in Hawaii by Michael Egan III, a former aspiring model and actor, who claims the director sexually abused him during a trip in Hawaii in 1999. Egan has said Singer abused him when he was as young as 15 years old at a home in Los Angeles, but his case only focused on the alleged abuse in Hawaii.

Singer’s attorney Marty Singer has said the director wasn’t in Hawaii when Egan claims he was abused.

“I promise when this situation is over, the facts will show this to be the sick twisted shakedown it is,” Bryan Singer wrote in his statement.

Egan’s attorney Jeff Herman said Singer’s denials would not affect his pursuit of the case. “We have a good-faith belief in the allegations, and we will litigate this,” Herman said.

Egan has also sued three other entertainment industry figures — two former television executives and a theater producer — for substantially similar claims.

“None of the defendants in Michael Egan’s cases have admitted to abusing him,” Herman said. “I’ve gotten other threats from the other lawyers, which I find interesting. I’m not deterred from bringing these cases forward.”

The lawsuits were filed in Hawaii under a law that temporarily suspends the statute of limitations in civil sex-abuse cases. None of the men has been criminally charged, and the statute of limitations for any such charges has passed.

In order to file the cases, Egan had to be evaluated by a psychologist who signed a notarized “Certificate of Merit” that includes facts and opinions supporting an opinion that he was sexually abused and had a psychological or physical injury. The certificate detailing Egan’s allegations against Singer has been filed under seal.

Egan claims he was lured into a sex ring run by a former digital entertainment company executive with promises of auditions for acting, modeling and commercial jobs. He was put on the company’s payroll as an actor and forced to have sex with adult men at parties within Hollywood’s entertainment industry, he says.

The Associated Press does not typically name victims of sex abuse, but it is naming Egan because he is speaking publicly about his allegations.


‘Peabody & Sherman’ a sweet, geeky jaunt

Animated films have seen their share of uptight dads — the most memorable being merman Triton and his strict rule over daughter Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” and the over-protective caveman Grug in the prehistoric journey “The Croods.” Mr. Peabody the dog in the charming “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” is no different.

As the aforementioned papas learned, this overbearing beagle must eventually loosen the leash he has on his adopted son, Sherman. But this is especially difficult for Mr. Peabody, since Sherman is not only a lively youngster, but a human one.

Heartfelt and snappy, DreamWorks Animation’s “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” follows the wild adventures that bond a dog and his boy. Within the first few moments, we discover Mr. Peabody (voiced by a tenacious and loveable Ty Burrell) is a pseudo-intellectual dog who attended Harvard. Meticulous and reserved, Mr. Peabody’s success has earned him an impressive penthouse in New York City and the consent to adopt Sherman (voiced by child actor Max Charles of ABC’s “The Neighbors”), who he found abandoned in a cardboard box as a baby.

Like last year’s wacky, yet underwhelming “Free Birds,” this animated feature features time-travel. Luckily, “Peabody & Sherman” offers a tighter plot and adorably geeky dialogue, thanks to writer Craig Wright (“Six Feet Under”). Via a time-machine he’s invented, papa Peabody has enriched Sherman’s upbringing with visits to past eras and the benchmark events within them — like Vincent van Gogh’s creation of “The Starry Night.”

Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Peabody and Sherman first appeared in “Peabody’s Improbable History,” a segment within the animated television series “Rocky and His Friends” and later “The Bullwinkle Show.” The latest film modernizes the duo’s story, time-machine still included, into a 3-D jaunt.

Now in elementary school, Sherman, a cute kid with wild red hair and huge glasses, is curious and frisky. On his first day of class, a brainy blonde named Penny (voiced by Ariel Winter of “Modern Family”) starts a fight with Sherman when he challenges her knowledge of George Washington, who he’s actually met in his time travels.

Despite the aptitude of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, we never really get another glimpse of Penny’s intelligence, even as she becomes a central character. Instead, she’s mostly obnoxious and when Sherman takes her for a ride on the time machine, she leads him to be disobedient. But she also encourages him to be a risk-taker, fostering his individuality and that of the little ones watching. It’s here that Mr. Peabody learns a thing or two about parenting. He must remain in control, while allowing Sherman to make mistakes.

As Mr. Peabody and Sherman visit ancient Egypt, the French Revolution and the Trojan War, historical tidbits unfold in cunning ways. However, aspects of their adventures, like Leonardo da Vinci’s weird robot baby invention, are often too loony. But the story, with additional voices by Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann and Allison Janney, does have the ability to inspire kids’ curiosity about historical benchmarks. And though a few corny jokes may go over their heads — “Perhaps I’m an old Giza,” Mr. Peabody says after leaving Egypt — jabs at Spartacus and Bill Clinton will make adults giggle.

Directed by Rob Minkoff (“The Lion King,” “Stuart Little”) and with Jason Schleifer (“Megamind”) as the head of character animation, the visuals are stylish and clean. But the 3-D effect is unnecessary. Danny Elfman, whose credits include “Big Fish” and 14 Tim Burton films, crafts a score that’s sprightly and sentimental. The most touching moments come during montages of Mr. Peabody and Sherman playing sports.

The kiddie film is a big wet kiss for dogs and dog lovers that champions loyalty and bravery as not only traits of canines, but as universal attributes.

Texas school district drops challenge to transgender student wearing tux

A South Texas school district has reversed course, saying it will allow a photo of a transgender teen wearing a tuxedo to appear in his high school yearbook.

Jeydon Loredo and his mother had said the school district was not allowing his photograph because it violated “community standards.”

But after a meeting late last week, the La Feria school district agreed to let the photo be used in the yearbook, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the district announced.

The law center had threatened to file a lawsuit if a decision allowing the tuxedo photograph to be included wasn’t made by Nov. 21.

In a telephone interview, Jeydon said he was “pretty happy” about the district’s decision.

“It was just very frustrating, the whole thing. To me, it was just a simple answer that I wanted. But we got the answer. So it’s great, man,” said Jeydon, who is a senior at La Feria High School.

La Feria, a town of about 7,300 residents, is located about 30 miles east of McAllen.

Alesdair Ittelson, an attorney with the law center, said the district’s decision sends “a signal to other school districts that transgender students should be recognized as important members of their communities rather than ostracized and subjected to discrimination. We applaud Jeydon’s courage in standing up for his rights.”

School district Superintendent Raymundo Villarreal Jr. said the resolution “is in the best interest of the student and the school and the community.”

In a statement, the district said Jeydon was never in danger of “being completely excluded from appearing in the portrait section of the high school yearbook.”

“There were discussions between the student, the student’s family and the administration on options affiliated with a dress code, including options which were gender neutral,” according to the statement.

Jeydon’s mother, Stella Loredo, said that during a meeting with Villarreal, she was told that the photograph of her son in a tuxedo “goes against the community standards.”

Villarreal told her that “they were a conservative school and that (outfit) wouldn’t follow the school policy as far as their dress code,” she said.

Stella Loredo said she was told her son’s photograph would be included only if he wore feminine attire, such as a drape or blouse.

“It was frustrating,” she said. “This has never happened in our small town. I kind of expected that it wouldn’t go smoothly. But I’m happy that it has been resolved. And we got just what we wanted,” she said.

In its statement, the district said that dress code issues “can be difficult and complicated. Oftentimes, an administrator is called to balance perceived community standards and individualized requests.”

Ittelson said the district’s action violated Jeydon’s right to freedom of expression under the First Amendment, as well as the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and Title IX, the law requiring gender equity in every educational program that receives federal funding.

Jeydon, his mother and Ittelson appeared before the La Feria school board to appeal the district’s decision. The school board did not take any action.

Jeydon said his friends and classmates were very supportive and he hopes his experience will educate school districts and prevent other students from going through what he experienced.

Jeydon’s case is similar to others around the country in recent years.

In 2010, Constance McMillen successfully challenged a rural Mississippi school district’s policy that prohibited her from bringing her girlfriend to the prom and wearing a tuxedo.

Kansas student says he was suspended for carrying purse

An eighth-grade student at Anderson County Senior-Junior High School in Garnett, Kan., says he’s been suspended for carrying a Vera Bradley purse to classes.

Skylar Davis, 13, first told his story to KCTV5’s local news outlet. He said he’d been carrying the handbag to school since August without incident. But, earlier this month, he was called to the assistant principal’s office and told to stop carrying the purse.

When he refused, he was sent home. 

Skylar’s mother told the news station that she thinks her son’s stand is “pretty cool.”

Administrators reprimand boy for makeup, parents petition for tolerance

The parents of a Tampa Bay, Fla., student have started an online petition asking for improved tolerance training after their son was castigated for wearing makeup on the last day of school.

Chris Martin decided to wear black eyeliner, eye shadow and lipstick on the last day of eighth grade at Meadowlawn Middle School in St. Petersburg, Fla., The Tampa Bay Times reported. Administrators told the 14-year-old boy he was violating the dress code.

The two women who raised the teen say they understand why his shirt’s image – an anarchy symbol and sheath – violated the code but the makeup was no different than what girls wear every day.

“When I asked what was wrong with his makeup,” his mother, Jamie Himes said, “the face the principal gave me made my blood boil.”

The Pinellas County School District backed the principal’s decision. A spokeswoman for the district said there was more to the story.

“But that would mean sharing confidential student information, which I am not at liberty to discuss,” spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra told the newspaper in an email.

The parents started a petition on moveon.org to improve tolerance training for teachers and administrators. They say their son has been beaten up, teased and had his belongings destroyed. His parents said the school’s response has been inadequate.

In addition to training, the petition encourages schools to teach LGBT history and host Gay-Straight Alliance clubs.

“Schools need to be a safe place, and kids need to know they won’t encounter intolerance there,” Himes said. “It’s not about our son anymore, it’s about intolerance.”

ACLU challenges sex-segregated schools

The American Civil Liberties Union this week launched an initiative aimed at ending the separation of boys and girls in public schools and challenging old gender stereotypes.

The “Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes” initiative was launched from ACLU offices across the country, including those in Florida, Maine, West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia, where the organization has specific concerns about single-sex programs in school districts.

“Cease-and-desist letters” went to individual school districts in those states from the ACLU, which wants the districts to halt programs that may violate federal and state law “by forcing students into a single-sex environment, relying on harmful gender stereotypes and depriving students of equal educational opportunities.”

The ACLU also has public records requests pending in Massachusetts, Indiana, Idaho Washington and Illinois and is reviewing records from Alabama, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

“Supporters of single-sex education make vague claims that these programs get results but don’t have the proof to back it up,” said Mie Lewis, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “Instead of implementing these gimmicky programs, schools should focus on strategies that work for all students.”

A news release from the ACLU said many of the school programs are based on the ideas of Dr. Leonard Sax and other proponents of single-sex education, whose discredited theories on the supposed differences between boys’ and girls’ brains are rooted in archaic stereotypes. For example, Sax says that girls do badly under stress, so they should not be given time limits on a test; and that boys who like to read, do not enjoy contact sports and do not have a lot of close male friends should be firmly disciplined, required to spend time with “normal males” and made to play sports.

In Orange County, Fla., schools cited Sax’s brain theory of differences between boys’ and girls’ brains as its justification for single-sex education. These theories were recently debunked in an article authored by a multidisciplinary team of scientists in the prestigious journal Science, which argued that single-sex education does not improve academic performance, but does foster stereotypes.

“We all want to fix failing schools. But coeducation is not the problem, and single-sex education is not the answer,” said Galen Sherwin, staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “Over and over we find that these programs are based on stereotypes that limit opportunities by reinforcing outdated ideas about how boys and girls behave.”

In order to safeguard against sex discrimination, federal law prohibits coeducational schools from implementing single-sex programs unless they meet extremely stringent legal requirements. At a minimum, schools must offer a persuasive justification for the decision to institute single-sex programming, the programs must be completely voluntary, and a substantially equal co-educational alternative must be available.

The ACLU maintains that lack of compliance with these requirements is widespread. Some schools required students who did not wish to participate in the segregated classes to enroll in another school, while others failed to alert parents that they had the choice to opt out of the classes. Schools also offered classes to one sex, but not the other.

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