Mother of Bi Teen: School Did Nothing When Teammates 'Stomped' Him

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday April 17, 2020

The mother of an openly bisexual teen in Michigan says that her son's school, Sterling Heights High School, either "took no corrective action" or, at best, "minimal corrective action" despite the mother having kept the school "continually informed" about the anti-LGBTQ abuse her son allegedly suffered at the hands of his football teammates.

NBC News reports that the youth, identified only as ZB, suffered at least one alleged beating that left him with a concussion. Afterward, his tormentors began cyberbullying him. A suit brought against the school district by the family claims that the youth was driven to a suicide attempt, after which he required hospitalization in a psychiatric ward.

The mother, Traci Matuschek, told NBC News that the teens who subjected her son to the alleged abuse did so with impunity because the school would not take appropriate action.

"The school is supposed to protect them," the mother alleged in comments to NBC News. "I was livid."

Local newspaper Macomb Daily reports that the trouble began when the teen came out to his teammates in the summer of 2019.

The teammates, who the young man "thought were all his friends," Matsuchek said, turned on him, harassing him with questions as to whether he was eyeing their private parts in the locker room or found it sexually exciting to be tackled on the field.

The abuse eventually turned physical, Matsuchek claims. "He was getting gay-bashed in school," Matuschek said. At one point a teammate "stomped" on his head, allegedly causing a concussion despite the youth wearing a football helmet at the time.

The school did not inform his parents of the alleged injury, Matsuchek says. In the wake of the alleged abuse, the teen dropped out of the team. "He quit something he loved. He played football since he was in the seventh grade."

The lawsuit takes the position that the teen's civil and Constitutional rights were violated by the school district because it took little or no action to protect him.

Attorney Eric Stempien told the media, "Our students should not have to go through this, and it's high time for the courts to actually recognize that."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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