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Will It Get Better? Superintendent Resigns From District Where 13-Year-Old Gay Student Killed Himself

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The superintendent of Tehachapi Unified School District, where 13-year-old student Seth Walsh was bullied for being gay and later hanged himself, is resigning today, according to the Bakersfield Californian.

Superintendent Richard Swanson and his district came under fire after Walsh killed himself over a year ago. Walsh's mother had complained that he was being bullied at school, but she said that the district didn't do anything to stop the harassment — and that some teachers may have actually encouraged the bullying by calling Walsh "fruity." Walsh became a sort of poster child for movements and legislation against gay bullying.

The U.S. Department of Justice stepped in and forced the 4,600-student district to revisit its harassment policies and undergo major reforms. A federal investigation determined last June that the district had not responded to Walsh's bullying appropriately. Swanson announced his resignation yesterday and said today will be his last day. His contract was supposed to expire in June 2012, but one trustee said the district needed a leader for "the turbulent times ahead."

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