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Gay teen dies after 9 days on life support, following suicide attempt over anti-gay bullying

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Seth Walsh, a California teen who spent the last 9 days on life support after attempting suicide over relentless bullying because he was gay, died today. He was 13 years old.

Seth Walsh

Seth’s family took him off life support this afternoon, reports KGET-TV.

A memorial service honoring Seth will be held on Friday, October 1, at 3:30 p.m. PDT at The First Baptist Church in his hometown of Tehachapi, CA.

Seth was found Sunday, September 19, unconscious and not breathing, and it appeared he had tried to hang himself from a tree branch, according to police reports. He was rushed by helicopter to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield.

According to reports, Seth was openly gay and was taunted by bullies for years, at school and at a local park.

He attended Jacobsen Middle School last year and for only two weeks this year, before being transferred to independent study — reportedly because he had been bullied relentlessly. But school officials at Tehachapi Union School District claim there have been no reports of bullying.

Police said they can not prosecute the students involved because the teasing was not a criminal act.

Judy Walsh, Seth’s grandmother, appealed for tolerance within the community. “We are hoping the community will develop more tolerance for different people,” she said.

Seth’s death is one of three teen suicides this month due to anti-gay bullying.

On September 9, 15-year-old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, IN, hanged himself at his grandmother’s home. Friends of Lucas said that he had been tormented for years based on his perceived sexual orientation.

On September 23, 13-year old Asher Brown, a gay teen in Houston, TX, came home from school while his parents were at work. He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment and bullying.

More on these stories as they develop.

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Filed under: California

49 more reader comments:

  1. “Police said they can not prosecute the students involved because the teasing was not a criminal act.”

    In which case, there could be no objection to publishing the names and photos of those responsible.

    Hmmm…. one problem with that though. It would be Evil. Genuinely wrong. Justice perhaps – but would make us no better than the bullies themselves.

    Lead Us Not Into Temptation.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 1:22am
  2. And they can’t prosecute the bullies because its “not a criminal act”…sad and ridiculous, how about juvenile detention til they’re 18 for psychopathic behavior at least, since they are obviously a danger to society. Seth was just a kid trying to be himself in this supposedly tolerant world we live in today. The news of his death, the situation itself, brought me to tears. My heart goes out to his family.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 5:51am
  3. My heart goes out to the family of Seth. I cannot believe we live in 2010 and anti-gay bullying and protest still exist…

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 5:51am
  4. Teasing is not a crime, but harassment is. There is a huge difference between being poked fun of and being harassed. Being teased about a pacticular subject or incident usually doesn’t last more than a few days, harassment on a particular subject lasts alot longer. What these kids did to this young boy seems to qualify as harassment and they should have to pay the price for such behavior. You can also see it as a hate crime, because the kids harassed this boy on his sexual orientation and whatever slurrs they yelled at him or said to him on a regular basis is hate speech, which they also should be charged for. This type of behavior from people should not be tolerated.
    My best regards to Seth’s family and other families that have gone through a similar situation and to those who are going through this situation

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 5:56am
  5. R.I.P Seth. I hope one day the prejudice will stop. The idiots that bullied you will be dumb forever – without a doubt. I’m a firm believer in kharma, they’ll get what’s coming to them. A young life cut far too short. Stop the Hate Now!!

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 6:57am
  6. How very very sad for this young person.. God Bless him and his Family

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 7:01am
  7. Omg, these poor boys. I know exactly what they went through, because I went through the same thing. Ignorant people like the Republcan party are responsible for this. They stick into peoples minds that homosexuality is abnormal and an abomination, and this is the outcome. Innocent children dieing.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 7:25am
  8. I think the parents of the bullies should be held accountable for the actions of their children that caused this innocent child to choose suicide as his only option. When I read this last night I began to cry. Children are not born hating. Hatred is learned. If we do nothing about this we are also part of the problem.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 8:54am
  9. ATTENTION LETS STOP THE H8 PLEASE READ THIS …… If you are gay How are we allowing this to happen ? If you are A gay parent or parent of a gay teen or a teen with Gay tendencies PLEASE LOVE and SUPPORT them all you can I am outraged learning of this and intend to some how make a difference

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 9:18am
  10. this just makes me cry. and our government still won’t do anything about it. rest in peace seth and all the other’s. i know it’s hard, i’ve been there, don’t worry, you have not died in vain, me, and the rest of your LGBT community will continue to fight for you, and the rights of all LGBT teens and future generations! WE LOVE YOU AND SEND YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES NOTHING BUT LOVE AND GOOD THOUGHTS TODAY AND EVERYDAY!

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 9:21am
  11. This makes me SO upset. We hear this all all to often. About evrey week we hear a story like this. This is the 3rd this month. When are the schools going to do something to STOP this ! Talk to your school admins and fight to end bulling in schools.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 9:27am
  12. All these poor souls did was violence against themselves.

    But Columbine started with this kind of relentless bullying — until the murderers went nuts and went on a rampage.

    So ask your police department, when they say “… they can not prosecute the students involved because the teasing was not a criminal act.” Do you want another Columbine? Is not stalking a crime? When some other bullied person decides on violence against others rather than violence against themselves then EVERY POLICEMAN AND SCHOOL OFFICIAL WHO DECIDED NOT TO DO SOMETHING IS AN ACCESSORY BEFORE THE FACT.

    Bullying is immoral. Allowing bullying to go on without acting to stop it is unethical and immoral.

    STOP THE HATE people, stop ALL the hate.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 10:14am
  13. Damn, the World are fucked up already.. Because it causing the wars, gays/lesbians, incests, affair the marriages, and many things! If Im a lesbian, I dont care what people thinking or teasing me. Im sorry about that. Thats hard, not easy life.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 10:48am
  14. Shorty Ma, You are ignorant. Religion is the cause of most war not freedom. Educate yourself and learn to form an actual sentence.

    The families of these bullies should be held civilly responsible for the loss of the lives of these children. Hatred begins in the home, this behavior will not be condoned by parents if they know they will have to financially pay for allowing their children to torment others. They may still be homophobic but at least they will think twice about perpetuating it outwardly.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:14am
  15. When i read this i was in tears. Let people be who they want to be. Its their life not yours so leave them alone and take care of YOURSELF AND ONLY YOURSELF. A little bit less than half of my family is gay and hearing these stories of these kids scare me. STOP THE HATE.!!!!!!! R.i.P to all that have lost their lives to bullying it is a crime and something should be done about this BS.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:49am
  16. Your talking about kids. Kids dont know what they are doing. Sure they know its wrong, but they dont know the consequences. You cant honestly say a kid making fun of another kid will lead to the other kids suicide and the bullying kid knows this. Even if he knew he wouldn’t understand. Kids are kids and that is what kids do. If you want to blame someone, the parents would be the closest thing you could really start in at and even then kids are gonna do what kids are gonna do. Kids make fun of anything. If they didnt care if he was gay, they would have made fun of something else about him because kids just do that.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 1:05pm
  17. Why does it matter to any one about another persons sexual being everyone has a right to be who they are
    what if people bashed on str8 people would it be fair in doing so how would you feel?I think when people gay bash they want to dabble in that life style them selves but are afraid of what people would think.The next time you gay bash think about if it was your brother are your sister and how it would feel.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 2:13pm
  18. How could school administration not know when these sorts of things happen? Are they not monitoring the kids who walk through their halls, sit in their classrooms and play on their playgrounds? They are responsible for creating and maintaining a safe environment for all their students. But it’s so much easier to ignore the problem, especially when it comes to morally-charged issues such as sexual orientation. Now 3 kids are dead. Good job, American educational system.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 2:15pm
  19. @ Cat, you cant make excuses for these kids. Sure they are kids but they are old enough to know that making fun of other children can sometimes lead to more serious acts.

    On, another note, people need to respect choices that others make. No one should be made fun of because of the sexual orientation that they are.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 2:34pm
  20. @Cat
    Really? The reason these things happen is because of attitudes such as yours. Kids will be kids; boys will be boys, etc. These statements are excuses for adults not stepping up and correcting poor behaviors. We, as a society get exactly what we settle for. We need to raise the bar and expect more from our children and more from each other. We need to start with basic respect for all human life and we shouldn’t settle for anything less…EVER!

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 2:57pm
  21. I mean this in the best way possible but parents also need to be teaching their kids that suicide is not the answer. And if the school won’t take care of repeated complaints of bullying then get the police involved, or take it to the school board or superintendent. The principal is not God. Someone is above them.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 3:31pm
  22. I don’t think these crazy people dont know that they maybe gay there selves and they dont want to be bullied themslves.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 4:57pm
  23. My thoughts are with the families of the dead right now; my anger is with the people who caused this, however indirectly. If I may quote Terry Pratchett, “you may not have said yes, but you didn’t say no loud enough”. Indeed, I am angry with the police for not treating this like the hate crime it so obviously is. If he was out and he was being antagonised for his sexuality, it was a hate crime. Simple as. No ‘Oh, it’s just kids muckin’ about’. It. Is. A. Crime.

    I may be slightly angry about this.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 5:11pm
  24. This shouldn’t be accepted, those kids really should learn there lessons, I only dream of a day when we are all equal regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race. R.I.P mate.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 8:49pm
  25. This story breaks my heart. While, I am not gay nor bi, I am a mother. I want my children to grow up in a world where they can be free to be themselves and love whom ever they do, regardless of their sexual orientation. The ignorance these children face in school needs to be acknowledged and bullying in general must be taken more seriously. My heart goes out to the families of these sweet Angels <3

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:17pm
  26. I believe tolerance should start at home. Although I know children do act different when they get around other children, as a parent it is our job to instill morals and values in our children. Monkey see, monkey do and I have to wonder if the bullies in question were taught hate and intolerence from their parents. I also believe it is the schools responsibility to keep our children safe and someone, a teacher, or a bus driver had to know this was happening and turned the other cheek. It breaks my heart that people can't be themselves. I know I will teach my 17 month old daughter to love all of God's children equally. My prayers are with these familys and every child who goes to school in fear everyday

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 6:45am
  27. As a short fat acne ridden Jr. High School student with coke bottle bottom glasses, I was teased and tourmented daily. My last period teacher use to excuse me from class 15 mins early so I could clear the campus before the other kids got out of class. Kids are cruel…don't know why, maybe they are just practicing to be adults. This is not just a "GAY" problem; it is an ongoing fact of school life.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 6:50am
  28. Human beings are so cruel. All of the kids at the school should be threatened to have their summer vacation taken away if the children who bullied this poor boy don’t come forward. Those children should be punished for the mental state they put this boy in, and for his death. May God be with him as well as his family.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 7:02am
  29. I can't believe how violent and cruel children have become over the years, practically incouraging mass suicide. I hope his parents and the adults at his school become more involved in the social problems of other children so this doesn't happen again. RIP Seth :(

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 7:26am
  30. @Cat
    “Kids make fun of anything. If they didnt care if he was gay, they would have made fun of something else about him because kids just do that. care if he was gay, they would have made fun of something else about him because kids just do that.”

    You’ve got to be f***ing immoral and STUPID! to believe that crap. These kids probably had no one to talk to because they were in an environment that thought homosexuality was wrong, or taunted from it. He was a human being and at whatever age, should be treated with respect.

    This creates so much anger in my heart. This boy probably suffered from increased depression

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 7:26am
  31. I was bullied when younger-no one would defend me. I made a vow to myself to be a better person as I grew. I recently ran into the guy who did most of the bullying and I told him just what a living hell he made my life in high school. He claimed he had to idea that I was being hurt. After I confronted him I thought the pain would ease,but it has not- Such an impact on my life. This was in the late 1960s and it still hurts- but I am a better person than the bully.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 7:28am
  32. We could only hope that bullying would stop. Generations are changing and kid are coming out earlier in life. We all should learn from this and adapt with the situation. Schools should have a better support group for LGBT and a community support group as well who could help assist kids in these of situations. Rest in peace.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 7:34am
  33. This has to stop. One way or another, how mutch more of this do we have to endure before they say enoghf is enoghf

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 7:48am
  34. @ Cat, I speak from the perspective of a mother as well as a former victim of bullying. Your assumption that kids “don’t know what they are doing” is totally preposterous. That is our jobs as parents, to teach them how to behave, and to correct the bad behavior they exhibit. From the age of 3 or 4 kids understand empathy and sympathy. They know that they would feel bad if someone called them names it would make them feel bad. The kids who were doing the bullying knew full well that they were being hurtful and cruel. Even if they did not know that the consequences would be this young boy’s suicide. The fault here lies with the school personnel and the parents of the bullies. Something should have been done. Even if the school did not feel the police getting involved was warranted, those kids should have been suspended or expelled and their parents should have done something.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 8:06am
  35. i am an openly gay married male and me and my life partner both think that it is sad that people do this if you are homophobic and do not like us for our sexual preference then you should leave us alone. WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN!!!! I am a self employed counselor for the LGBTQ community and i help people in different countries as well as here in the united states and i have been gay my whole life and i am now 30 yrs young and my life partner Jason E. Deprey La Shomb is 24 and we both think that the ones that were bullying these young men should be prosecuted to the full extent but of course that will not happen at all because alot of the people in this world do not care about the lgbtq people at all. I am making a stand today that i believe all the homophobic people in this world should live a day in our shoes and see how it feels to be ridiculed for our sexual preference, or even better should be put on a deserted island wit a gay lesbian bisexual transgendered or queer person and see who lasts longer there without ending their life i know for a fact that the families of these young men are very heart broken and my condolences go out to them in their loss of a loved one.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 9:29am
  36. First and foremost. My sincere condolences to Seth’s family. Seth may you rest in peace, you are free now of all the worldly nonsence. And as for the punks, you no who you are. SHAME ON YOU!!!!Your parents need to bust out a can of whip-ass on you and see how it feels.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 10:23am
  37. DEAR PR!!!!

    Sorry you were tormented… the difference between you as a str8 kid being tormented and a gay kid being tormented is.. if you tell your parents that other kids called you names just because you had fat glasses is TOTALLLLLY different as when you are a kid who finally realizes he's different from everybody else and if ONE person finds out that he or she is gay then their world is DONE!!!!! I MEAN DONE!!! Ontop of that, you feel like you have to hide it from everyone and you can't even trust your best friend for fear they will turn on you… you'll also fear that your parents will kick you out of the house… so this leaves you with NO OPTIONS as a teenager who has NO life experience and doesn't know where to turn…Big difference in having silly coke bottle glasses…that's a small problem in comparison to the list i named off

    it's a GAY THING…so don't take away from it .

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 10:29am
  38. This is the saddest thing I have heard in a long time.However,A13yr old boy in adjacent town hanged himself for the same reasons..It’s good to have people these children can talk to.I think counseling is the answer.Telling them it’s OK to be who you are.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 10:48am
  39. This makes me sad, I wish people were more tolerant of each other period. There is too much hate, violence and pain in this world.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 11:49am
  40. RIP Seth…. I'm so sorry this had to happen to you. You're in all of the LGBTQ's hearts and minds.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 12:07pm
  41. Ok I am completely sick of hearing things like this happening. I'm tired of the ignorance in this world. Speaking as a gay 19yo I was ridiculed and teased since elementary school, because people thought I was gay even though I never came out till I was 11, I thought many times about suicide but I could never truly bring myself to do it. But to this day I'm glad I didn't because when I get a little older and I have a more stable life and I'm living on my own I will do great things to help the LGBTQ community and promote tolerance with the straight community, and help kids to know that it's ok to be who you are. I will become an active individual in the LGBTQ community and show everyone that these acts of teasing and violence cannot go unpunished. Nowadays I'm still teased but I know I'm a better person then them and I know not to take it to heart, the other day I met a new friend and found out his boyfriend was beating him and kicked him out. I was outraged and I felt absolutely horrible because there was nothing I could do to help him but to talk with him and let him know everything will get better, but he told me he was going to be homeless, and It broke my heart to think he wouldn't have a place to lay his head that night, if I had my own place I would have gladly have let him stay as long as he possibly needed. But from what I understand he had a coworker and friend who let him stay the night at her place, so it made me feel better about that. But anyways the ignorance needs to stop and my prayers sincerely go out to the families who have lost a loved one to this ignorance.

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 3:23pm
  42. Everyone keeps saying they're sad. I'm not…I'm mad as hell that these bullying bastards are practically murdering our children and getting away with it because "teasing is not a criminal act." BULLSHIT! I was tortured in school because bullying idiots just assumed I was gay. Parents – please teach your children that bullying is not cool, nor is it acceptable. We can either leave behind a legacy of tolerance, or we can leave behind a legacy of hatred. The choice is yours…

    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 5:11pm
  43. my sincere condolances for the family be strong my thoughts are with u its hard and for him it was harder
    no one uderstands it unless u are in the same place may he rest in peace

    Posted on Friday, October 1, 2010 at 1:17am
  44. Teasing that leads to suicide SHOULD be a criminal act.

    Posted on Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 5:05pm
  45. This is disgusting. Ellen said it right: one instance of this happening is a trajectory. This happening a bunch of times is a crisis.

    Posted on Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 10:39am
  46. * tragedy D: stupid firefox spell check.

    Posted on Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 10:40am
  47. I don't believe I'm writing this.

    People kids tease each other have done for long before you were born. This is a natural process and isn't going to be changed by introducing laws and regulations. This is not something unique to lgbt groups, this happens across the entire spectrum of society, the geek teases the jock because he failed a maths exam, the jock teases the kid with glasses because he has to wear glasses, or the kid with asthma, or the kid that's to smart.

    And yes some of the kids can not handle it and do kill themselves.

    Posted on Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:08am
  48. Dan, I ALSO cant' believe you wrote what you did. Bullying of any form is not tolerable. Although it is something that many kids face in school, some face it more and to a worse degree than others. Everyone should have a right to be who they are and not be judged and ridiculed constantly for it! I am the sister of Cody Barker, the young gay teen from Wisconsin that killed himself on September 13th. I do not wish this pain on anyone. Cody was full of life and had a passion for helping others. Although he was surrounded by many people who loved him, the ignorant assholes he faced at school every day and hassled him since Kindergarten constantly made his day miserable. A person can only take so much before they break down. Just like Seth Walsh's case, my parents went to the school for answers and they deny any bullying going on and the police investigated and said the only thing these bullies could be charged with would be a disorderly conduct. It is an absolute tragedy that my brother had to die because our society is too ignorant to just TOLERATE LGBT individuals. I'm not saying people have to be completely OK with or understand the LGBT lifestyle, they just need to let them live their everyday lives without being harassed constantly about who they are. My takeaway message for all of the people that feel these laws shouldn't be implemented is: Don't be ignorant and don't pick on people because you just never know how much your words hurt a person. I would give anything to have my brother back here with me on Earth, but since that can't happen I am going to try my hardest to reach out to the people that need support that Cody would have helped. These suicides are a cry for help and something does need to be done, hate cannot be tolerated!

    Posted on Monday, October 4, 2010 at 10:33pm
  49. People, including my self at times, need to remember that words hurt people even the people who don't show it. I don't understand what the "rush or purpose" of picking on someone's lifestyle is and making that person's life miserable when they aren't doing anything to effect or harm you. People, High school students in peticular, have to grow up and realize that no matter what sexual orientation an individual is they are still a person with feelings. I strongly feel that since this is happening all over the united states there needs to be something done to prevent this from happening.No one should have to feel ashamed of there sexual orientation. I feel that Parents should talk to there Children about the acceptance of one's sexual orientation.And as Casey put it people dont have to like it, they just need to accept it. i also feel that Schools need to be more aware of whats going on inside there buildings. school is soposed to be a guiding block in shaping a student for adulthood its not helping the bullies or the victims to let this sort of behavior continue.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 1:18am