Second Teen Suicide As Tenn. 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Returns

By: Scott Ragan
1.23.2012

The Advocate has reported that a Tennessee teen killed himself last Friday after facing constant harrassment and bullying at his Gordonsville school.

Friends of 14-year-old Phillip Parker told a local TV station that they witnessed Parker being constantly ridiculed by other students. His parents say their son hadn’t told them about the the bullying he faced at school for being gay, instead finding a note beside his body that said “Please help me mom.” The boy’s father told local news station WSMV. “I love him. I miss him. He shouldn’t have had to kill himself to be brought to life.”

This is Tennessee's second teen suicide in two months as lawmakers reconsider passing a “don’t say gay” bill. Cheatham County teenager Jacob Rogers killed himself on Dec. 7 after repeated bullying.

The proposed “don’t say gay” bill would ban teachers from talking about homosexuality in public school classes in kindergarten through eighth grade. The discriminatory bill managed to pass the state Senate with a 20-10 vote last year, but the House ran out of time to consider it. Now they are looking once again to push it through. In response, The Tennessee Equality Project is urging lawmakers to stop sending a negative message to students, and posted on Facebook that they are “reaching out and we continue to call for our General Assembly to turn from discriminatory legislation and toward positive solutions to bullying”.

A candlelight vigil was held on Thursday, Jan. 26 at the Cookeville Courthouse Square to remember Phillip Parker. A photo of the gathering is seen below.

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