“I was sitting at a lunch table a couple weeks ago when a former friend of mine came out and blatantly and jokingly said, ‘I would kill myself if I were gay.’ Everyone at this table knew I was homosexual. For this former friend of mine to say something like that really bothered me,” Champaign Central sophomore Scott Best said.
This is the story of Champaign Central High School sophomore Scott Best and for him it’s a story that hits home.
“For a week I didn’t do anything about it but as I kept coming into school and seeing his face. I just couldn’t let it slide or let him get away with it so I went and reported it. I couldn’t let something like that keep going on, he needed to know that it was not okay.”
For many days, Scott kept thinking about what his friend had said to him.
“I never returned to the lunch table. Less than a day after I reported the incident, I began hearing claims from a friend of mine that people were giving me crap about it. Then a few days later people started coming up to me and saying stuff to my face.”
Scott Best felt terrible. He thought that his friends would understand. He thought that they would understand his side of the story. They just thought it was funny and that hurt him.
“This went on for several weeks, I was given crap about it from people who didn’t even know who I was.”
Scott was harassed as he was walking through the hallways by people who barely spoke to him. He was being bullied all because he went and reported what happened.
“The scary part of it all was that the group that was at the table and the people that were giving me crap about it didn’t know the whole story.”
Having the feeling that he was in the wrong made Scott feel like he could only trust certain friends and that these people were just not the type of people he should be around.
“This former friend of mine made it seem like I did all the bad things and he did nothing and I just reported it for no reason. They just sided with him because they thought it was a joke and that I needed to take it as such. In my opinion you should not joke about something like that at all,” Scott said.
He feels as if that whole group was just against him despite knowing that he was gay, and despite realizing or understanding how it could affect his feelings and him on a personal level.
“The school didn’t do as much as they should have they just gave the kid a warning like that was going to change anything and the school expected him to take the warning seriously.”
For Scott personally he believes that schools should do something more about this, he believes that a warning is not enough.
“A warning does not stop them from saying it a second time cause they can deeply offend and insult people who relate to it on a personal level,” Scott said.
He thinks action needs to be taken.
“Lay out the consequences. Make it clear to them that what they said was unacceptable and make sure they know that their actions have consequences.
Scott’s story of harassment has made him reflect on how LGBTQ students are treated in high school.
“People who have a different sexual orientation than the norm are ridiculed and harassed and bullied everyday for something that they themselves can’t control it gets so bad that some of them do take their own life and that’s just sad bullying someone to the point where they feel like taking their life is the only option it’s just not right,” Scott said.
For Scott, people don’t understand.
“People don’t know what it’s like to be in my shoes.”