My Role Model

People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.
~Tyron Edwards

When I was 10, I was called gay for the first time in my life. Up until then I had never heard a hateful word come from another child and be serious. I knew I was gay, I knew it was frowned upon, but I had no idea it would lead to a very painful experience called Middle School (High School was surprisingly not as bad).

From September 1995 to June 1998 I attended Thomas C. Giordano Middle School (M.S. 45) in the New York City borough of the Bronx. I was enrolled in the Giordano Prepatory Program, which had a sole purpose of getting you enrolled in one of the top three New York City High Schools. They are Styversant in Manhatten, Bronx Science in the Bronx, and Brooklyn Tech in well...Brooklyn. I got into Brooklyn Tech but didn't go...too far and I could have cared less.

Anyway...grades 6 -8....some of the worst years of my life. Towards the end of 8th grade I decided to come out to my best friend, we'll call him Bobby. He said he was cool with it and I was relieved. A few days later, the boys began to taunt me even more than usual and they all mentioned what I had told Bobby. Betrayal is a feeling that can not be described.

One particular day, and I remember it well, I was called a name while we waited in line to leave the building. The hallway was packed with kids and teachers and I lost it...the verbs that came out of my mouth were...unacceptable....

My english teacher, Mr. Raby, pulled me to the side. He always stood up for me and as my grades declined he always vetoed everyone's vote to kick me out of the program (he was chairman) so I knew I had dissapointed him. I expected detention, if not worse...a call to my mother...which would lead to a whole world of pain. But he didn't punish me...instead he said:
"I know you have it tougher than the other kids. I know you're tired of the names they call you, but one day things will be better for you. You just have to stay strong."
I always remembered what he said and it helped me through the following years. Mr. Raby transferred schools the year after we graduated to a school in Virginia. I never saw him again. Very recently I have been contacted by several of the students in that class and the following was forwarded to me today:
News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2006 
In matters prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia:   
FORMER COLLEGE PROFESSOR SENTENCED TO OVER 17 YEARS IN PRISON FOR RECEIVING CHILD PORN
Charleston, WV – BERNARD E. RABY, 42, a former teacher at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Logan, West Virginia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin to 210 months in prison following his conviction for receipt of child pornography over the Internet. 
Evidence in the case showed that Raby collected on his home computer thousands of images of child pornography which he received over the Internet from other collectors of child pornography. Hundreds of these images depicted very young children less than 12 years of age. Raby's collection also included images depicting acts of sexual violence to children. Additionally, evidence in the case showed that on numerous occasions Raby paid teenage boys in the Charleston area, ranging in age of 14 through 17, to engage in sexual acts with him. 
Upon his release from prison, Raby will serve a lifetime term of supervised release.
Assistant United States Attorney Anna Forbes and Department of Homeland Security/ Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent James Kilpatrick were responsible for the investigation and prosecution.
I am at a loss for words.... disappointed....upset... disappointed.




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