ADL Decries Shooting of California Student in Apparent Bias Crime
Santa Barbara, CA, February 14, 2008 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemns the senseless shooting of Lawrence King, 15, who appears to have been targeted because of his sexual orientation and non-conformity with traditional gender roles. The League expresses our deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and the school community of E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, California.
"This is a devastating tragedy," said Jackie Reid, Interim Regional Director for ADL's Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties Region. "When prejudice and bigotry go unchecked, as seems to be the case here, it can lead to violence. In every school community it is vital that schools address these issues as soon as they arise in order to prevent escalation and to ensure that all students are safe on campus."
Current studies indicate that over 20 percent of all U.S. middle and high school students have been bullied by other students during the current school term.
"Students who identify as members of the LGBT community, or those who are perceived to be, are often the targets of bullying and harassment," Ms. Reid said. "We know all too well that jokes, slurs and name-calling can lead to acts of violence. This extreme case highlights the need for further education and vigilance on the part of all members of our community in order to eradicate bigotry in all forms."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.