It’s safe to say that students at a Wasilla, Alaska high school weren’t expecting their congressman to talk to them about bull sex at an assembly Tuesday morning.
The Alaska Dispatch News reported that students and staff at Wasilla High School said U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-AK) “acted in a disrespectful and sometimes offensive manner to some students, used profanity and started talking about bull sex when confronted with a question about same-sex marriage” during his 60-minute appearance.
When one student asked Young why he thought same-sex marriage was so bad, the congressman responded: “You can’t have marriage with two men. What do you get with two bulls?” according to Wasilla Principal Amy Spargo.
Witnesses told the Dispatch News that Young’s comments on suicide also stunned the assembly, as students and staff were mourning the loss of a Wasilla student who took his own life last week. Young mentioned alcohol and depression and said that suicide shows a lack of support from friends and family, according to the witnesses.
“When I heard ‘a lack of support from family’ and I heard ‘a lack of support from friends,’ I felt the oxygen go out of the room, but I gasped as well,” Spargo told the newspaper. “It just isn’t true in these situations. It’s just such a hurtful thing to say.”
Young’s spokesman acknowledged to the newspaper that the congressman could have taken a more sensitive approach on the topic of suicide.
“Congressman Young was very serious and forthright when discussing the issue of suicide, in part because of the high number of tragedies that affect Alaskan youth. He discussed what he believes are leading causes of youth suicide in our state and shared some suggestions for helping family members and friends who are dealing with suicidal thoughts,” spokesman Matt Shuckerow told the Dispatch News. “In no way did Congressman Young mean to upset anyone with his well-intentioned message. In light of the tragic events affecting the Wasilla High School community, he should have taken a much more sensitive approach.”
Shuckerow added that the congressman had communicated “his regret for any offense taken during the honest and spirited discussion” with the school’s administration.
The bizarre appearance at Wasilla High School follows another unsettling exchange between Alaska’s only congressman and his challenger, Democrat Forrest Dunbar. Dunbar said earlier this month that Young “freaked out” when he put his hand on the congressman’s arm backstage before a debate and told him “Don’t ever touch me. The last guy who touched me ended up on the ground dead.” Young later said without clarification that the statement had “some truth to it.”