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May 11, 2021

Young Insolent to Students – Suicide, Gay Sex & more

Alaska’s lone congressman, Don Young, spoke to a group of students at Wasilla High School Tuesday.

If that sentence alone made you wince, then congratulations. It shows you’ve been paying attention to the rapidly crazying octogenarian who represents all Alaskans in the halls of Washington D.C. Earlier this month, Young barked at his Democratic opponent after a touch on the arm, “Don’t ever touch me! The last guy who touched me wound up on the ground, dead!” This time it’s insensitive remarks about suicide, berating friends of the victim, and comparing Alaska’s newly legal same-sex marriage to bull fornication. And getting drunk in Paris.

English/Japanese teacher Carla Swick had her junior English class of 30 students take a vote. “They voted to rearrange their schedules so they could attend the event with Don Young,” she said. Sadly none of them had their iPhones rolling.

During a Q&A session after his lunch time address to a group of about 150 Wasilla English and Government students, Swick asked a question.

“We had a suicide here last week. Alaska has the highest rate of suicide and domestic violence in the country. What can your office do to decrease this statistic?”

“I asked the question because this is what we’re dealing with. This is a big problem. This is the second year in a row we’ve lost a student to suicide. You have to pay attention to that,” Swick said.

Young then used the full measure of sensitivity and diplomacy he’s absorbed during the last 40 years of public service, and blamed suicide on substance abuse, and a lack of support from friends and family.

“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,” Wasilla High principal Amy Spargo said. “It just isn’t true in these situations. It’s just such a hurtful thing to say.”

“I wanted to say, ‘Don’t you realize we are a grieving school, and the kids you are talking to… many of them are his friends. This kid was very well-liked, and he had friends. He had support,” Swick said.

“Neither of these boys had drug or alcohol problems,” said teacher Allison Little. “They were from intact strong families. And there was support. I don’t know why you would say that when these kids were his friends.”
At that point, a friend of the victim became emotional and called out, “He had friends. Depression is a mental illness.”

According to Swick, Young then said suicide wasn’t a sickness, and that if it were a sickness “then get a vaccine.”

“Later on he used the word depression, but it was only after that,” Swick said. “And he said, I think in response to that kid, ‘Oh, so we’ve got a genius in the audience,’ in a very sarcastic tone. It was his tone… He is harsh. He is so harsh, and rough around the edges, and he demands respect but he doesn’t give respect,.”

At one point Young asked the students what they thought the hardest part about being a congressman was. And no, it wasn’t learning how to sustain a stratospheric level of idiocy over a span of decades. According to Young, it’s the travel.

According to Swick, Young then said, “’I can travel to Paris, get drunk, and come back in the time it takes me to get to DC.’ He was trying to make a point, but why did he have to put ‘get drunk’ in there? It was just inappropriate. And he also said Hell several times.”

Wake up, congressman. It's time to go home.

Sacré bleu! Wake up, congressman. It’s time to go home.

Witnesses also say that Young referred to a student as a smartass, or an asshole. Shock tends to fuzz out the memory.

And then, the other issue that’s on everyone’s minds this week came up – same-sex marriage. As the federal court overturned Alaska’s same-sex marriage ban for being unconstitutional, students were curious where the congressman stood on the issue.

“It takes a lot of guts for a kid to get up in front of the class and ask a question, never mind the longest-seated congressman in the country, and we want to support our kids,” Swick said. “There was a student who asked a couple questions, and Don Young kept saying, ‘Get your hands out of your pockets! Speak up!’ in a very aggressive tone. You’re taking a risk and getting up there and you’re being berated before you even open your mouth,” Swick said. “The boy was very polite about it.”

The student in question asked about legalizing marijuana, which will be on Alaska’s ballot in November. Young is opposed. He followed up with a question about why the congressman was opposed to same-sex marriage.”

Young answered the question by going straight to… bull sex.

“You can’t have marriage between two men. What do you get with two bulls? A lot of bull shizzle,” a staffer recounted. “It was something about mating.”


Both Spargo and Swick have emphasized Wasilla High School’s commitment to social contracts in the classroom, and how students treat each other, and how the school encourages students to take risks and support each other.

“It’s disrespectful. It’s bullying,” Swick said about Young’s behavior. “Know your audience. You’re in a high school.”

Young approached Swick after the event, and asked if he’d ruffled her feathers. “Then he brought up the gay marriage issue with me,” she recalled. “He said he didn’t understand why this is so much in the news when there are issues of climate and oil, why is this such a big deal? And I said, ‘Because it’s personal. This is a person’s identity. That’s why this is a big deal.”

Asked why she had been eager to have her students attend the event, Swick said, “I’m always trying to connect them to the real world, current events, current issues. They are Alaskans. So let’s see what he has to share with them. It’s a chance to get involved and be a part of the process. Any time I can connect them to what’s happening around them I want to do that.”

Matt Shuckerow from Don Young’s office responded to the incident with an email statement to Alaska Dispatch News:

“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 wrote in an email. “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.”

Matt Shuckerow does not make enough money.

Spargo and staff members will meet today to discuss what if anything to do in response to the incident. “What I really want to do is just reinforce to the students that suicide is not a function of a lack of support,” she said.

Forrest Dunbar, Young’s Democratic challenger in the November 4th election, commented on the incident, including by Facebook meme.



You can find his website HERE.

Now, who’s ready to fly to Paris and get loaded?



23 Responses to “Young Insolent to Students – Suicide, Gay Sex & more”
  1. Robin Barker says:

    I just sent the Fairbanks News Miner a letter covering this incident. It appeared nowhere in our only paper… one reason we call it the News Minus. I met an old timer who told me he taught school in Fort Yukon with Young. He said he used to hit the kids on a regular basis.

    • Mag the Mick says:

      I have heard the same thing from people who went to school in FY in the 50’s and 60’s. Perhaps the local Alaska media isn’t dealing with this in depth, because it’s not “news”. Mr. Young has been disrespectful, verbally abusive, and bullying for decades, and everyone knows it. And it’s also not “news” when he manages to continually be re-elected. I’m not sure what he would have to do these days in order for his actions to be considered newsworthy.

    • Really? says:

      RB Thank you for sending this on to the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.
      And, thank goodness corporal punishment is no longer allowed in the
      Alaska school system.

    • Peg says:

      The Newsminer is a horrible newspaper. They simply do not understand the term community newspaper and their spelling and grammatical errors are embarrassing. They feel quite free to write damaging stories about people and yet will not follow up on those same stories when the people are vindicated. Don’t expect anything from them!

  2. renee99503 says:

    The number of people commenting here and elsewhere about how he’s becoming crazy or senile astound me. Where has everyone been the last 40 years? Don Young has always been a bully of very limited intelligence. His arrogance, idiotic and outlandish remarks, as well as racist and sexist remarks are who his is through and through. This is nothing new. Haven’t we had enough embarrassment for the state of AK after the Palin debauchle? It is way overdue for Don to go.

    • Dagian says:

      Me? Mordor on the Potomac – but believe me, he barely registers on the radar around here until he pulls a stunt like this in his home state or here.

    • Mike D says:

      It’s far more important to vote for one’s party than to actually consider things such as ethics, accountability, and accomplishment.

  3. Really? says:

    Thank you Jeanne. And I thought I could never again be shcked by some of the words that come out of Don Youngs mouth..Well, this is shocking and I am very sorry for the suffering Wasilla has had to deal with concerning the deaths of their students. I commend Forrest Dunbar for his response. He should be invited to to answer questions about Alaska, as well.
    I believe Don Young needs to keep his sexual fantasies to himself, and be encouraged to enroll in a sensitivity training class.

  4. John says:

    Don Young wants repect. You have to earn respect, and he hasn’t.

  5. Dagian says:

    Flip comment follows (but only because I’m shocked at what Young SAID):

    Does this mean that the students who did attend this forum with Don Young will now be able to receive counseling? Clearly the man could have said worse things, but it’s hard to imagine how.

  6. mike from iowa says:

    Juanita Jeans has picked up this story and the last one about your congressweasel.

  7. Alaskans deserve better than Young.. Somebody like Dunbar.!

  8. Beaglemom says:

    And his office’s response was another “should have, would have” excuse of a statement. Don Young should have been retired by Alaskan voters at least a decade ago. Please get rid of him now. He adds a lot to the pollution on the GOP side of the aisle in the House of Representatives. Don’t you all deserve better? The young man who is his current opponent seems to be, from the statement given above, to be much more in touch with how people live “in the real world” and how they feel. Vote Democratic!

  9. Wugmump says:

    I’ve voted against him, no matter who was running, since 1976. I wish I still lived there so I could do so one more time.
    Your vote really matters; please find the time, make the effort and implore others to do so as well.

  10. Zyxomma says:

    Swick said, “I’m always trying to connect them to the real world, current events, current issues. … ” The real world? That’s not the one Yon Dung inhabits.

    • Beaglemom says:

      Today’s New York Times has a paragraph or two about Young’s confrontation with teenagers in Wasilla. He’s described as “irascible” and there are no direct quotes from him. The New York Times thinks it’s all a kind of joke; I’m glad that the Washington Post took his maniacal behavior more seriously. It is time for this man to be retired. Vote him out, Alaskans.

  11. Mo says:

    The fact that Alaska Republicans keep re-electing this cranky old creep just reinforces my belief that it is now immoral to be a Republican.

  12. Ivan says:

    Everyone knows that he is an a$$ol moron and the conservatives of this state will continue to elect him because he’s one of them.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] that Young referred to a student as a smartass, or an asshole. Shock tends to fuzz out the memory. There's lots more at the above Mudflats link re Young's views on gay marriage, marijuana. […]

  2. […] lone congressman sure dug himself into a hole yesterday, didn’t he? And you know what they say. Since you’re in there anyway, you may as well just keep […]

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