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Kids Being Bullied, a group dedicated to promoting acceptance of all people.
"He would make little comments, like 'Oh, isn't he cute,' or something like that, to kind of test how I would react," McAtee said.
Jake told his mother he was gay in seventh grade. She had suspected this for some time.
McAtee took her concerns to the school board. She wanted to know what the district's policy was regarding bullying.
Jake heard his mother's minivan. He spit the pills into the sink and washed them down the drain. He pretended everything was fine. His mom, Tania McAtee, knew better. Jake never socialized. He holed up in his room. He yelled at his mother. She knew it was more than the snarls of a moody teenager.
Only his choice in team was different. Jake Stallman set out to be the first male cheerleader in Tipton High School history.
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It wasn't everybody, of course, just a few. But he felt so alone.
Putdowns for weight, then for his sexuality
not. Slurs about his sexuality replaced the putdowns about his weight.
She asked if records were being kept, if faculty and staff were informed when students were bullied, and what board members were going to do to keep children safe. She and Jake started Tipton Against Prada Bags Man
At the time, Jake was struggling in school. In seventh grade, he was shorter and heavyset. He tried out for football, but didn't like it. Prada Sunglasses Gold Frame Other children mocked his size. Jake joined the track team in the spring. He ran. He lost weight. He grew.
Jake Stallman hugs his cheerleader coach, Michelle Ellerhoff, after practice on Wednesday. He might not be the lone guy on the squad for long. Two other boys have approached Ellerhoff about trying out next spring.(Photo: Bryon Houlgrave/The Register)The bullying began in middle school because he was fat. He grew up and thinned out. But the bullying continued in high school because he was gay. This he could not change. He cried when it was time for school. He was afraid to get off the school bus. Finally, he believed death was the only means to relief.
McAtee reassured her son that she loved him.
Between seventh grade and his sophomore year, Jake contemplated suicide three times, he says. He put the pills in his mouth once.
Make Tipton a kinder place
"He was hurting," McAtee recalled.
Jake has also taken a new path. He felt alone, but wanted what most teenagers want: to fit in. So, he did what many teenagers do: He joined a team.
"It was as if he was more worried about pleasing the people who came to his party, than relaxing and having a good time with his friends," McAtee said.
He told a friend about his sexuality. She told someone else.
Jake is now 17, a junior in high school, and his ongoing stand against bullying has garnered national attention. On Saturday, he will be presented the Spirit of Matthew Award from the Matthew Shepard Foundation in Denver, Colo. The award is named after a gay college student who was beaten and left tied to a fence post in Laramie, Wyo., in 1998. Two men were convicted of his murder, which was classified a hate crime.
"One day he pulled me into my room. Whenever one of the kids does that, I know it's serious," she said.
This frightened teenager who felt isolated for being different set about to gain acceptance by being more different than anyone at his school had ever been.
Anti bullying efforts prompt hate calls
Eventually, Jake took his mother into her room. He revealed it all: the bullying, the fear and self hate. He didn't think he could take it anymore. McAtee decided something needed to be done. So did Jake. And thus began the story of how a mother and son set about making Tipton a kinder place.
When Jake had a birthday party, he bought presents for everyone who attended.
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