At York High School in York, Maine, a boy, Garrett McCann was bullied by some students. Over 200 of his classmates supported him and and his older brother, who was suspended from school after a fight with one of Garrett’s bullies. This rally of overwhelming support took place on the morning of October 23, before classes. Students and parents were holding signs with peaceful and encouraging messages such as “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL” or “BE KIND”. Some of these messages were for the school administration, because they are not doing enough to support and protect McCann.
This boy was teased for months and came out as gay last summer. These students stand up not only for McCann, but for any student who was marginalized or bullied. “We are standing out here today to rally for EVERYONE being bullied, to spread a positive message of gay pride, to stand for the LGBTQ+ community and to bring awareness to hate crimes.”
“You see all walks of life from the high school out here right now,”, YHS student and rally attendee Nate Davis told the news outlet. “You’ve got football players, two of the captains, people from the drama club who never get involved in sports, all sorts of people. When everyone gets together for one problem you can tell that problem is big enough that you need to address it soon. That’s what this is trying to show. We’re not all from one group, but we’re all united.” McCann said that he really feels the support. “It’s only about four or five or six people [who were being bullies] and look at the people here. They’re definitely outnumbered,” he explained.
A report from 2015 by Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, 42 percent of LGBT youth have experienced cyberbullying, while 35 percent have received online threats. The organization also notes cyberbullying of LGBT youth is three times higher than other student’s experience.