An 11-year old Ohio boy named Tyler Wilson has proven the old anti-bullying mantra to be true: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never stop me from cheerleading.”
Or something like that.
Yes, Tyler Wilson is a male cheerleader, and has been since June. As a 6th grader, he’s in his first year at Glenwood Middle School in Findlay, and he’s already been bullied by boys tormenting him for cheering on the football team.
Approximately three weeks ago, two unidentified boys followed Tyler home, “approached him and punched him,” according to ABC News. The network reports, “Several small skirmishes broke out between Tyler and the two boys, according to the police report, and eventually one of the boys allegedly picked Tyler up and slammed him on the ground, breaking his arm.”
Tyler, in his 11-year-old wisdom and grace, responded simply by saying, “It feels horrible that they can’t accept me for who I am. (But) it’s my choice. If I want to be a cheerleader, I’m going to be a cheerleader.”
Damn straight, you are, son! I’m over here doing cartwheels in your honor.
Since his attack, Tyler has been “getting support from male cheerleaders from all over the region.” Not only does Tyler have no intentions of being bullied out of the sport he loves, he’s defiant about climbing to the top of the cheerleading pyramid. “I’m going to keep going,” he says. “I’m going to make a lifestyle out of it.”
Unfortunately, as we learned late last night, not all young boys have the kind of fortitude Tyler has exhibited. Last week, a 13-year-old Texas boy named Asher Brown was bullied to death for being gay. In Asher’s case, his school’s administration did nothing to stop him from being bullied. Officials at Tyler’s school had been keeping track of incidents involving Tyler, but neglected to inform his mother, Katy, that he’d been targeted.
Both bullies in the case have been charged with assault, one with a misdemeanor and one with a felony. District Assistant Superintendant Craig Kupferberg told ABC News, “Glenwood Middle School has taken steps to help resolve the situation between the boys. Any kind of bullying — physical, cyber, we’re constantly trying to help students work through these situations or prevent these situations.”
The parents of the bullies have not reached out to Katy Wilson and have made no comment to the news media.
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