Advocacy Spotlight – Noah Buchanan

Advocacy

The Coalition is highlighting a Sacramento parent using their voice to create needed change for students! October 18, 2019

Statement by Noah Buchanan
RE: Resolution in Recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month
Sacramento City Unified School District
Board of Education Meeting

I refuse for my voice to be buried as well as other parents who are experiencing this issue. We need to model this to our children that it is ok to have voice in this world. Their voice should be a priority but isn’t.”

To The Superintendent, board members, administrators,My name is Noah Buchanan and I approach you as a parent and an advocate. Last year my son attended one of your schools and what I would think would be a dream come true for my son ended up being the worst nightmare that my family had to endure. My son has ADHD, PTSD, and some concern for schizophrenia. My son came out as gay and I came out as transgender last year. My son thought he felt safe enough to come out and it was a nightmare for him. It started with my son writing about the transgender community and his teacher said, “It’s a irrelevant topic to write about.” Shortly after my son was called a “faggot” and a “disease”. Everyday he was threatened physically and it was to the point my son did not feel safe going to school. It didn’t stop there, his teacher took part and robbing this child of an education because he had labeled my son a liar and that his bullies were always right. I sent messages to the principle and all I got was, “he’s a young teacher and he didn’t know how to deal with parents such as myself.”This caused my son to miss a lot of school because he didn’t feel safe and as a parent it is a nightmare. Everyday involved him yelling, screaming, and afraid for his life. Anytime my son reported any incidents involving this other child he got accused of things that were never proven and now he’s labeled as a troubled child that needs to be segregated from other kids. At the end of May my son tried attempted suicide. I begged and pleaded with his school as well with the district to help me put a stop to this. I got no response from anyone. As a parent I was confused because I had no idea what I did to cause this lack of response. After a while, I kept hearing the same words, “I hear you” from SCUSD. I feel as a parent I was not heard. I have received my sons records from the school stating the bullying was not substantiated. I felt that SCUSD was focusing on more of a less important issue and making it a bigger issue than what it was. I felt ignored and SCUSD have set my son to fail. My son has since transferred schools and his bully is still harassing him. My son’s bully has managed to reach out to someone at my son’s new school and the bullying is resurfacing. Therefore, I have been working with his school to have an early intervention in place before it escalates. I’ve reached out again to my son’s old school where the student who is bullying my son resides, and got the cold shoulder. I refuse for my voice to be buried as well as other parents who are experiencing this issue. We need to model this to our children that it is ok to have voice in this world. Their voice should be a priority but isn’t.

No consequences have been brought to his bully. I would like to request that the children should not be ignored but heard because more and more LGBTQ children are killing themselves and if this bullying is not taken care of my son will be next. I plead for help that this can be prevented.Bullying Statistics for LGBTQ Students
PACER Center: https://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/stats.aspExperiences for student with disabilities, students of color, and LBGTQ students have much overlap. The broader literature on bullying such as information provided by The PACER center has links to clear statistics:The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students include physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation. More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied.Bullying based on a student’s perceived or actual disability, race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion is considered harassment.Students who identify or are perceived as LGBTQ also experience bullying at high rates.

  • 74% of LGBT students were verbally bullied (e.g., called names, threatened) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 55.2% because of their gender expression
  • 36% of LGBT students were physically bullied (e.g., pushed, shoved) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 22.7% because of their gender expression.
  • 49% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying in the past year.

The effects of bullying are devastating to our youth. This is extremely concerning as bullying behavior and suicide-related behavior are closely related:

  • The Center for Disease Control says that bullying behavior and suicide-related behavior are closely related. This means youth who report any involvement with bullying behavior are more likely to report high levels of suicide-related behavior than youth who do not report any involvement with bullying behavior.
  • Increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression.
  • Mental health and behavior problems.
  • Negative effect on how they feel about themselves (19%), their relationships with friends and family and on their schoolwork (14%), and physical health (9%).
  • Twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches.
  • Youth who self-blame and conclude they deserved to be bullied are more likely to face negative outcomes, such as depression, prolonged victimization, and maladjustment.