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Asher Brown’s Suicide Hits Home

September 30th, 2010 | 16 comments | Posted by Jen

13 year-old Asher Brown was an 8th grader at Hamilton Middle School in Cypress, TX who killed himself last Thursday because, according to his parents, he was bullied at school. The Houston Chronicle reports that Asher was bullied for being small and for not wearing designer clothes; MSNBC reports that he was also singled out for being Buddhist and having a lisp. Most of all, his stepfather David Truong and mother Amy Truong believe, Asher Brown was bullied for being gay.

The Truongs now say that they had complained to Hamilton Middle School officials repeatedly over the last 18 months about the harassment Asher experienced, but their phone calls went unanswered and their visits to the school failed to stop the bullying. The school district of which Hamilton is a part, Cy-Fair I.S.D., is denying that they ever received complaints from the Truongs, other students, or school employees.

This story hits home for me because that’s exactly where it takes place. I grew up in Cypress, TX. I graduated from the Cy-Fair school district, attending both middle and high school there. The house that I grew up in is 2.5 miles away from Hamilton Middle School, which is listed on its website as a “2010 Texas Exemplary School.” I actually would have gone to Hamilton had it existed when I was that age.

It’s been many, many years since I’ve lived in Cypress, and it has changed considerably from the small town on the outskirts of northwest Houston that it once was. The woods I used to play in behind my subdivision and the ones surrounding so many homes in the area are mostly gone, built-up with more subdivisions, box stores, gas stations, grocery stores, mini-malls, and malls.

The demographics have changed, too. Of the 1620 students enrolled at Hamilton Middle School this year, 7.3% are Asian. I’d have to dig up my old yearbooks to figure out what the percentage was back when I was in middle school, but I’m guessing it was less than half that number. I wasn’t the only Asian kid in school, but it sometimes felt that way. Back then, I was teased and bullied for being different; I was called “chink,” “gook,” “jap,” “snake eyes”; the very first high school football game I ever went to, an older kid ching-chonged me in front of hundreds of other spectators; people screamed from their cars at me and my family to “Go back to where you came from”; even my so-called “friends” told me one year at church camp that I could never date outside my race because the Bible said it was wrong. Still I feel like I had it easier than others because I was a girl–only once did someone threaten to kick my ass out by the school buses. Twice, if you count the time I voted for the Democratic candidate in a 7th grade mock election Continue reading Asher Brown’s Suicide Hits Home

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I Was a Preteenage Werewolf

November 21st, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Meet Pruthviraj Patil, 11. He hails from India and is a superhero born into a dull, ordinary, well-depilated world. He is one of only an estimated 50 people in the world who suffers from hypertrichosis, or “werewolf syndrome,” which means hair grows everywhere on his body except his palms and feet.

Pruthviraj appeared in an episode of TLC’s “My Shocking Story” that aired this week (click here to watch the full episode in parts on YouTube):

Like all other superheroes, Pruthviraj just wants “to be like everyone else.” And the NY Post reports that Pruthviraj is currently working with a group of Columbia U scientists to cure this disorder. If that fails, I’m hoping Pruthviraj and his fellow werewolves will form a gang and kick the asses of all those annoyingly emo Twilight “Fanpires.”

Click here for more photos.


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