Motorcyclists set to support gay Mishawaka student alleging bullying at school
MISHAWAKA, Ind. —- A community of motorcyclists are set to show support for a Mishawaka High School student who claims she’s being bullied at school because of her sexual orientation.
Summer Biggs is a sophomore at MHS and she alleges for the past two months another student has called her homophobic slurs and out his hands on her. Biggs said he is targeting her because he is mad because she is in a relationship with a girl.
“I didnt think it was a huge problem until I told my mom,” Biggs said. “And really people shouldn’t be touching you that way.”
ABC 57 News spoke to the mother of the student accused of bullying Biggs through Facebook Messenger on Wednesday. The woman did not permit ABC 57 to use her comments on air or online.
But Biggs said she has not said anything hateful or anything spiteful to the student she accuses of bullying her.
The School City of Mishawaka declined to comment on Biggs’ claims of bullying because of student confidentiality reasons. However, stories of LGBTQ students being bullied while at school are not uncommon.
“It’s a serious issue and we’re finding more and more youth are coming out younger and younger, their experience in school it’s important,” said H. R. Jung, executive director of The LGBTQ Center in South Bend.
Jung, who is in the middle of organizing events for Pride month, said roughly 83 percent of out LGBTQ children are verbally or physically assaulted while they’re in school. Jung said this bullying can lead to serious reactions.
“A lot of times we find that youth are bullied drop out of school,” Jung said. “They also experience a lot of mental anguish and depression because which leads to suicide ideation so a lot of kids will commit suicide because of the bullying they experience at school.”
Biggs’ mother, Desiree McDougal, said she received a phone call from the Dean of MHS on Wednesday. She said he told her he was investigating the claims and that he would call her back to tell her what had transpired.
But until then, McDougal and Biggs said they do not plan on staying silent. McDougal sent out the following status on Facebook:
Biggs said she is a huge fan of motorcycles. She and her mother are part of a motorcycle club in town.
Her post, which invites motorcyclists to help her show support for her daughter by picking her up at school on Friday, June 7, has been shared more than 200 times. A family friend named Seth said he plans on joining the group to show Biggs that she has his support.
“If somebody’s picking on you, you shouldn’t just keep it to yourself you gotta speak up,” he said.
Biggs said she has heard concerns from faculty and students about the group of motorcyclists picking her up on the last day of school. McDougal said Friday’s school pick-up event is not a violent event or a form of retaliation.
“It is just a way for her to say ‘Here I am, I’m gay,’” McDougal said. “You can’t shut my voice down and here are all these people who love me for me.”