West Vigo teen promotes education, inclusion after homophobic slur etched in locker

Rocky Roberts describes himself as an activist. He is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community. For these reasons he says he is the target of bullying.

Posted: May. 23, 2018 8:31 PM
Updated: May. 23, 2018 10:40 PM

WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A West Vigo High School student says he hopes to use what happened to him to show bullying is uncool.


"I don't think that they deserve a punishment. I think that they deserve an education."

Rocky Roberts describes himself as an activist. He is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community. For these reasons, he says he is the target of bullying. But, he adds he is strong enough to stand-up for himself and others just like him.

You can still make out the letter "F" in the homophobic slur etched into the metal of Roberts' locker months ago. Roberts claims a staff member scrapped over the word so to spare his feelings but, instead, the junior says the sight makes him proud.

"It brings awareness to this whole situation where discrimination is still happening everywhere."

He says he does not know who carved the word into his locker and he doesn't care.

"At the end of the day, if they're not willing to have a conversation with me, then what's the point? Obviously, I do care about what people think about me but I'm more focused on the actual discrimination that's going on instead of the personal attacks."

Roberts' friend Caitlyn Cantrell explains how she reacted to the situation, "Your first response is to be sad and then you're angry because the world is still like this. It's like, it's 2018 and we're still dealing with this kind of discrimination."

Roberts adds the school staff is supportive and handled the unfortunate situation well. He does not think the act against him should garner punishment. He says whoever did it needs education.

Cantrell says, "Education will always help others to understand and once you have that understanding I feel like love is more capable of being created within someone and the world is in desperate need of more love."

Roberts and his friends with the group Terre Haute Teens for Action, including Cantrell who is a sophomore at Indiana State University and Gabby Fullhart who is a senior at Terre Haute South Vigo High School, are working to provide those opportunities for learning and discussion.

Fullhart says, "We all want to have that space where we're free to talk about our views. We're free to be ourselves and it doesn't happen enough."

Cantrell says, "Queer spaces are always twenty-one and up, alcoholic, that kind of thing. Even Pride festivals, there's just alcohol everywhere so having that kind of inclusion and a safe space for teens to have that's outside of school so there's no pressure to not say what's on your mind is kind of where I want to go with this (group)."

Roberts says, "Nothing effective comes out of being closed minded."

Superintendent Dr. Danny Tanoos says the student responsible for etching the word into the locker has been punished and the district does not tolerate discrimination or bullying of any kind.

For more information about Terre Haute Teens for Action, click here.

Article Comments

Terre Haute
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 90°
Robinson
Overcast
80° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 84°
Zionsville
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 77°
Rockville
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
Casey
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 89°
Brazil
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 90°
Marshall
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 90°
More rain on the way
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps

Latest Video

Image

Thursday Afternoon Weather

Image

https://www.linkedin.com/in/s-arnold/

Image

Replay Runway

Image

Showers and thundershowers continue.

Image

Rain is still possible through the night

Image

Clydesdales in Clinton

Image

News 10's Alia Blackburn rides the sky with Billy Werth

Image

Danny Etling preseason game 2

Image

Proposed location for a new convention center

Image

Illinois football preview

WTHI Events