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Teen Gets Anti-Gay Slur Carved into Stomach

Face Cut, Badly Bruised, 17-Year-Old is Hospitalized

Homophobic Attack is Second on Youth In a Year

By Jack Nichols

attackword.gif - 24.24 K Adam Colton, 17, is a student at San Marin High School in Novato, located near San Francisco. For the second time during the current school year, he became the victim Friday of openly declared hate crimes. This time he lies prostrate in a hospital bed, a vicious cut on his face, bruises on his body, and the word "fag" carved into his stomach and into his lower arm.

This second assault has left the beleaguered teenager bereft of recent memories. He'd endured an earlier attack in mid-September following his transfer to the school and his courageous coming out of the closet as the founder of the school's student-led Gay-Straight Alliance.

Colton, waking in the hospital, assumed, because of his memory loss, that he'd been in a car wreck.

Because police found his car parked on school grounds and in spite of the youthful activist's inability to recall what's happened to him, they have deduced that the assault probably happened on campus. Sgt. Jim Laveroni confirmed for reporters only that Colton had been attacked and that likely had been motivated by hate.

Students at San Marin High School told how Adam Colton had mumbled something about being followed and had stumbled into a classroom and collapsed. His parents are convinced their son's attacker was motivated by a homophobic rage. They are asking students or others with knowledge of the assault, especially persons who may have witnessed it, to step forward.

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Related Sites:
Safe Schools Anti-Violence Project

GayToday does not endorse related sites.

The details surrounding September's attack on Adam show the persistent patterns of zealous abuse indulged in by homophobes and nearly sanctioned by school authorities. Ketchup-drawn warnings left on his car at school, a group of bullies ambushing him outside a grocery store at night, lighter-fluid epithets on the family drive, key scratches on his car, a routine round of loud, vicious gossip, punctuated in the school halls by threats and taunts.

Colton said of the first round of violence he'd experienced as a student at San Marin High only that he'd wished Principal Rudy Tassano had spoken more forcefully against the attack, thus warning students that such behavior would not be tolerated. As late as Saturday, Principal Tassano was not taking calls from reporters.

"It's too late to help Mathew Shepard," said an immediate statement of support from Paul Barwick, a GayToday reader, " but it's not too late yet to help Adam Colton."

"Adam seems to be getting discouraged," continued the reader, "he says now that he wants to leave San Marin High. The townspeople seem supportive towards him, with the mayor of the town taking a strong stance against hate crimes, and the police with the support of the Chamber of Commerce and various residents are offering a $7,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of the assailants.

"This is a scared, frightened young man. Let's let him know that people do care. Send him a card or letter of support. Mail it to him in care of his high school. A flood of support mail just might make the school a little more aware that people care, too.

"And spread the word about Adam's attack. This is not an isolated incident. Young people all over our country go though these kinds of things all the time just because they are perceived to be gay. All children deserve to be safe in their schools."

Write to:
Adam Colton
c/ o San Marin High School
15 San Marin Drive
Novato, California 94945


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