Protesters rally after allegations surface of a teen's bullying

More than 100 people held signs outside of Harrah Middle School, speaking out against bullying.
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Published: May 5, 2012

Malik Leigh, who left Oklahoma in 2006 and now practices law in Florida, is a friend of the teen's family and flew out to help organize the rally.

“Over the last 48 hours, I've had so many parents and kids calling me about being bullied,” Leigh said.

“Too many of our kids are dying because people aren't speaking out,” said Garland Pruitt of the Oklahoma NAACP chapter.

Bullying victims speak about their struggles

James Cooper, a teacher and writer who lives in Oklahoma City, described how he was bullied as a teen in Choctaw, a few miles to the west of Harrah.

“We all get a voice,” he said. “This is the area where I was first called the ‘N-word.' But this is your home and don't let ignorant, backwoods people force you from it.”

The Rev. Scott Hamilton, executive director of the Cimarron Alliance, said all kids deserve to go to school free from fear and bullying.

Cimarron Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocacy and education on behalf of the state's gay, lesbian and transgender community.

Repeating the racist statement Arzell claims was made while the boys were playing, and the anti-gay name of the game, Hamilton asked how school administrators and teachers could tolerate those terms being used.

“Something has to change. Talk to your children, your grandchildren ... Let's not let it be business as usual.”