The family of a bisexual teenager interviewed by Post Register in November said his mailbox exploded on Friday.
A video shared by the family shows part of the explosion filmed. The sparks are clearly visible.
Sgt. Bryan Lovell, chief information officer at the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, said the mailbox was destroyed by fireworks. The owners said they saw a car drive past the mailbox before the explosion.
The family said they believed the attack on her mailbox was continued harassment about her son’s sexual orientation.
The Post Register interviewed the family in November and published an article about the bullying they suffered. “Jack,” a pseudonym given to the teenager by the Post Register to protect his identity, said he was attacked by several boys after a series of bullying incidents.
In the months following the publication of the article, the teenager received harassing blocked calls, to the point that he stopped answering his phone. The family’s home has been vandalized several times, including with toilet paper and repeated attacks on their mailbox.
Jack’s mother, “Jane” (also a pseudonym), said her son had since dropped out of school after the bullying continued. One of the latest incidents at school involved several teenagers calling Jack a homophobic insult. She said her son started yelling at his classmates and was punished instead of the other boys. His son is working towards a GED instead.
The family also shared a text message Jack received in August from someone who threatened to sexually assault Jack with an “AK”.
According to a 2019 GLSEN survey, 59% of LGBT students say they don’t feel safe at school because of the bullying they experience because of their identity, and 17% end up changing schools to security reasons.
The family told the Post Register in November that they felt ostracized for their son’s identity. The family said several church members made fun of their son for being gay and when they spoke to the bishop about it, he suggested that Jack apologize for treating the other children of idiots. They withdrew from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after the Church opposed LGBT people to receiving job protection in a U.S. Supreme Court case.
The fireworks incident is the third attack on the family’s mailbox in the past year. Lovell said several area residents of the family were particularly concerned that the fireworks could start a blaze. Idaho Falls poses a high risk of wildfires, according to the Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire Center.