Thursday, December 6, 2012

Josh Pacheco

Josh Pacheco was a junior at Linden High School in Fenton, Mich., where he loved theater, his Advanced Placement history class, and his friends and family, his mother Lynette Capehart told Michigan Live. But the "sensitive" teen was also the target of relentless antigay bullying, which his parents believe led the 17-year-old to commit suicide on November 27.

Pacheco came out as gay to his mother just two months before he died, Capehart told MLive. Capehart and her husband, Pacheco's stepfather, didn't know the extent to which their son was bullied, being shoved into lockers and harassed both in and outside of school. Their first indication was when Pacheco returned from a homecoming dance on October 6 in tears, but wouldn't elaborate on why he was upset.

"He was having problems with bullying," Capehart said. "He didn't really want to tell us very much. It was very disheartening to me."

MLive reports that Pacheco questioned his life and his future in conversations to his siblings, which prompted his mother to make him an appointment with a counselor. But Pacheco never made it to the counseling appointment, posting on Facebook near lunchtime on November 26, a quote from J.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins: "I regret to announce that this is the end. I'm going now, I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye."

When a neighbor checked in on Pacheco at his stepfather's urging, the neighbor found the teenager unresponsive in his truck, which had been running inside a closed garage. Pacheco left a note in the truck which said, "I'm sorry I wasn't able to be strong enough."

Capehart says that since her son's death, students and teachers have approached her, telling her they knew that Pacheco was being bullied. She told MLive she was upset that school officials never notified the family about the problems. 

"We weren't aware of any specifics," Superintendent Ed Koledo toldMLive. "There's been a lot of stories that have turned up over the weekend that we are looking into. We are trying to put new programs into place, so [students] feel more comfortable [talking to administrators.]"

In response to Pacheco's death, school officials accelerated plans for an antibullying hotline called the Eagle Hotline.

These stories always make my heart hurt.  I wish that I could tell every young gay man and woman that it is okay.  Suicide is never the answer.  I have always had the firm belief that the bullies of this world will meet their punishment, if not on this life, then in the next.  Never, ever, give them the satisfaction. If you have a problem with bullying, TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST!  There are teachers who will help, find that teacher, and a good teacher will fight for you like no one else has ever fought for you.  If you are a young LGBT person struggling with depression, isolation, or suicidal thoughts and feel that you can't talk to a teacher, your parents, or someone in authority, then you can call the Trevor Lifeline and speak confidentially with a trained counselor 24 hours a day at 866-488-7386. Please just get help, your life is worth so much. You are the generation that will eventually see more equality for LGBT people than the world has ever known.  Just live to see it. PLEASE!!!


Jay M. said...

I just can't wrap my head around it. Sorry. Been crying too hard.
Peace <3

JiEL said...

Why is it to have such «mortal» ending to shake the authorities to DO SOMETHING do stop bullying and hate of all sorts....????

Here, in Québec Province we're experiencing the same issues with the same fatal endings.
Unfortunatly, there are many people that are reacting and we have many ressources to help those young desperate teens.
The «Jasmin Roy Fondation» is going in the schools to provide informations on bullying and the G-R-I-S is one other group that is specially working so young gays and lesbians can be more accepted in their schools.

There is a lot to do for social acceptance of the «differences»...

This issue is not only a local one but a universal one if you see how gays and lesbians are treated in other part of the world such as muslims countries and some African countries too....

Cheers from Montréal, Canada

JiEL said...

Here are the links to those two very well known associtions against bullying and homosexual bashing.
Jasmin Roy is an well known gay actor here and had been bullied for many years as a young boy and teenager too.
He wrote a success book named : «Hostie de Fif» which could be translated as: «Damn Queer».
In this book he tells everything he'd been through as a young gay man.

Well, there's still hope that human kind can evolve toward «acceptance of the differences»..


Will said...

These stories are infuriating. I was about to say that it's happening way to often, but just one would be too often. And the schools always say, Oh we didn't know, or, But we didn't have any proof. School bullying doesn't happen in a vacuum, it happens in a community. Someone always sees the kid who's beaten or slammed into an locker or tripped and kicked or hears the hate being spewed verbally. There's no excuse any more. It's sickening and the schools have to be made responsible if they harbor bullies in their halls and locker rooms and classrooms.

naturgesetz said...

"Capehart says that since her son's death, students and teachers have approached her, telling her they knew that Pacheco was being bullied. "

To me, this is the most infuriating thing about the whole story. Why isn't it mandatory for them to do something about it, at least file a report with the police? Why do they just look the other way and hope it will be okay?

Of course, most of us are like that — we don't want to get involved — and we become guilty bystanders. But teachers are already involved. They need to accept their responsibility.

Coop said...

It's weird how, after the fact, people said they KNEW this poor kid was being bullied. Maybe a kind word, letting this kid know someone cared about HIM would have made the difference.

I think bullying is treated too much like this big huge nameless problem. This story is making me wonder if everyone is hoping for a big huge solution that may or may not come. The victims in all this are not a policy change or a law waiting to be written.
The other people who commented here have valid points, but . . .