Protesters cheered and chanted their way from Veterans Memorial Plaza to John Morton-Finney Educational Center Tuesday to show support for expelled Arsenal Technical High School student, Darnell "Dynasty" Young.
Young, an openly gay teen, was expelled after bringing a stun gun, given to him by his mother, to school to protect himself against being bullied because of his sexual orientation.
Joh Padgett, the event's organizer, led the group of supporters to the educational center before an Indianapolis Public School board meeting that evening. Padgett said more needs to be done to curb bullying in schools to avoid situations like Young's.
"We hope that [school officials] will be held to account to their inaction in this case and we hope they will beef up their anti-bullying policies and do a better job the next time something like this occurs," Padgett said. "We need to make them aware that they aren't protecting their children."
Young's mother said in an Indy Star report last week that when she notified school officials of her son being bullied, they seemed to say Young's actions were partially to blame.
In the same report, Arsenal Technical Principal, Larry Yarrell, said Young's accessories drove the bullying.
"If you wear female apparel, then kids are kids and they're going to say whatever it is that they want to say," Yarrell said. "Because you want to be different and because you choose to wear female apparel, it may happen.
Young, who attended the rally, said seeing people come out to participate reassured him that he wasn't alone.
"This is big to me. I've never really spoke in front of people except for my classmates so this is a lot," Young said. "The energy here is like 'Oh my goodness this is crazy.'"
Those who spoke to the crowd at Veterans Memorial Park included Kyle Casteel, a gay teen from Mooresville, Ind. who said a rally like this one was overdue.
"I've been following Dynasty's story since it broke," Casteel said. "It's weird to say that we were all kind of waiting for something like this to happen in Indiana but it's definitely the kind of wake up call that we thought Indiana needed. I think that it was just a prime opportunity to come out and show the community that some changes need to be made."
In a statement last week, IPS Office of School and Community Relations said Young would be allowed to return to school in IPS on Jan. 7, 2013.
Despite his expulsion, Young said he is optimistic. He plans to get his GED and go to college.
"I have a bright future, a very, very bright future ahead of me and I'm very excited," Young said.