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Teen expelled for using stun gun against bullies

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 7:07 PM EDT, Tue May 8, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Darnell "Dynasty" Young can return to high school next January, the school district says
  • Young, 17, pulled a stun gun on students he said bullied him at his Indianapolis high school
  • "I brought the stun gun 'cause I wasn't safe," the teen says
  • "The district does not condone bullying," a spokeswoman says

(CNN) -- A gay teenager who pulled a stun gun on students he said bullied him has been expelled from his Indianapolis high school until January.

"While the district does not condone bullying, it also does not allow weapons to be brought on our school campuses for any reason," a spokeswoman for Indianapolis Public Schools said Tuesday. "Students who violate this rule will be held accountable."

Darnell "Dynasty" Young's mother sent her 17-year-old son to school with a stun gun because, she said, administrators didn't do enough to stop the bullying against him.

Students take part in anti-bullying programs from kindergarten through 12th grade, district spokeswoman Mary Louise Bewley said. The district also offers Gay Straight Alliance groups on multiple campuses, including Arsenal Technical High School, where Young attended, Bewley said.

"The district does not condone bullying," she said. "Students who violate the rights of others through bullying behaviors are held accountable."

The school district held an expulsion hearing last week and the decision was announced Tuesday.

"The Indianapolis Public Schools has affirmed the decision of the expulsion hearing examiner to expel Darnell Young from Arsenal Technical High School for the remainder of this school year through the first semester of the 2012-13 school year," it said. "He may return to school in IPS on Jan. 7, 2013."

His mother, Chelisa Grimes, sent her son to school with the stun gun after he said he was taunted and bullied for months.

Grimes told CNN's Don Lemon on Sunday that she would do it again, despite the threat of expulsion.

"I do not promote violence -- not at all -- but what is a parent to do when she has done everything that she felt she was supposed to do ... at the school?" Grimes said. "I did feel like there was nothing else left for me to do but protect my child."

"I brought the stun gun 'cause I wasn't safe," the teen said.

After six other students surrounded him at school on April 16, calling him names and threatening to beat him up, Young pulled the stun gun from his backpack. He raised it in the air, setting off an electric charge, and sending the group scurrying, Young said.

Unlike a Taser, which fires barbs attached to long wires at a target, a stun gun must be near or pressed against a person to shock him.

"I got kicked out of school for me bringing the weapon to school, but I honestly don't think that that was fair," Young said. "I didn't use it on nobody ... all I did was raise it up in the air and went back to my class."

School police officers arrested him a short time later and took him away in handcuffs, The Indianapolis Star reported. School officials are investigating the incident, but none of the students who allegedly surrounded Young have been positively identified.

Young is known as a flamboyant dresser and Larry Yarrell, the Tech principal, said school staff had been trying to get him to "tone down" his accessories.

"If you wear female apparel, then kids are kids and they're going to say whatever it is that they want to say," Yarrell told The Star. "Because you want to be different and because you choose to wear female apparel, it may happen. In the idealistic society, it shouldn't matter. People should be able to wear what they want to wear."

Grimes contends that school officials haven't done enough to protect all students on campus.

"I think that the self-protection device is what's making the news, but the big picture is that my child is not the only one who does not feel safe at our school," she said.

It is a common complaint among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.

A 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students found that nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students had experienced harassment at school over the previous year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation.

Young said rumors around campus suggested he was "doing nasty stuff" with teachers. The rumors took their toll.

"I was at my wit's end. I didn't know what to do and I thought about suicide," Young said. "I hate saying that word because God blessed me with this life. I love life. I love my education. I would never ... but this bullying got so bad that I thought about that."

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