Training tonight on LGBT foster youth

Rusty Johnson

Rusty Johnson will offer a training: Discussing a Taboo; empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered & questioning youth in care, tonight, Aug. 15, at Jonathan’s Place in Garland. Lambda Legal, Jonathan’s Place and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services are partnering to put on the event.

Johnson, a product of the foster system in Iowa, created the training when he was a Youth Specialist at Texas Child Protective Services.

CPS stats show that 78 percent of LGBT youth run away or are removed from their first foster placement because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. More than half of child welfare agencies say they don’t have the information they need to serve the LGBT youth in their care.

“This is your chance to finally address the all too real ‘taboo’ of youth in foster care identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning.” Johnson wrote. “Although very difficult to confirm, it is speculated that the leading cause of suicide of children in foster care is directly related to what many parents and staff refuse to address, ‘the taboo.’ Hear testimony from youth who have struggled, become aware of warning signs and discover what you can do to give these children the same fighting chance as any other child.”

Jonathan’s Place, 6065 Duck Creek Rd, Garland, 75043 in the T Boone Pickens Children’s Services Center, in the Board Room from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. RSVP to management@rustyjohnson.net. The event is free.

—  David Taffet

Asher Brown’s parents file federal lawsuit; CPS report raises questions about home environment

David and Amy Truong addressed members of the LGBT community who came from around Texas to lobby for anti-bullying laws on March 7. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

The parents of Asher Brown, a gay 13-year-old from the Houston area who took his own life last fall after being bullied by classmates, are suing Hamilton Middle School and the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District for allegedly failing to respond to their complaints. Brown’s parents, Amy and David Truong, announced the federal lawsuit on the steps of the Texas Capitol on Tuesday. From KHOU.com:

“If the bullies were held accountable for their actions, we wouldn’t be standing here right now,” said David Truong, Brown’s stepfather.

The lawsuit reveals details about their son being bullied over being gay and Buddhist.

It includes a claim that their son was kicked down two flights of stairs at school within a day of taking his life.

The lawsuit also claims that evidence of the family’s complaints was destroyed.

Cy-Fair ISD did not return phone calls requesting a comment about the lawsuit.

The Houston Chronicle reports that after Asher’s death, Texas Child Protective Services began investigating the Truongs’ care of Asher and his older brother, who had been hospitalized for mental illness a few weeks before Asher’s suicide.

CPS found that David Truong was a strict disciplinarian who forced the boys to kneel for hours at a time on a brick fireplace hearth, according to the Chronicle. Asher’s older brother told CPS officials that his stepfather once threatened the boys with guns and placed a gun in his mouth. Asher’s parents denied the CPS findings and said David Truong took the guns out to teach the boys about gun safety. They also say Asher’s home environment had nothing to with his death. CPS placed Asher’s older brother in foster care after his suicide.

Click here to download a copy of the Truongs’ lawsuit. Watch KHOU’s report below:

—  John Wright