Two years after an unthinkable act of hate in California, vigils are being organized across the country to remember Lawrence “Larry” King, a 15 year-old boy who was shot and killed by a classmate because of his perceived sexual orientation and gender expression.
On February 12, organizations and individuals nationwide will honor Larry’s memory and call for an end to violence and harassment in the classroom directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
A 2007 study conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that more than 9 out of 10 LGBT middle school students surveyed (91%) said they experienced harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, 59% experienced physical harassment and a startling 39% said they had been physically assaulted, nearly twice as many as in high school (20%). That same study found that more than 8 out of 10 LGBT middle school students (82%) reported hearing homophobic epithets frequently or often from other students in school -- a higher percentage than high school students (73%). Perhaps most shocking, 63% of LGBT middle school students had heard school staff make homophobic remarks.
To locate and register for a vigil near you, please visit www.rememberinglawrence.org