Sixth-grader Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover (at right) had been playing football and basketball at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts trying to make friends. But the new kid had become the target for bullies. According to his mother, Carl had been harassed and bullied for months on end for his clothing and was called "gay" (among other things, I'm sure) and threatened with physical harm.
Though the young man never identified as gay or queer in any way, he was pushed and pushed. His mother repeatedly asked teachers and school administrators to intervene but help was not forthcoming. Solutions like making the young man eat lunch with a bully to foster a relationship did no good. Unfortunately, Carl got pushed to the breaking point and hung himself.
His mother's repeated pleas for help are now pleas for attention to bullying and the problems it can cause in children, whether they are questioning their sexuality or not.
"If anything can come of this, it's that another child doesn't have to suffer like this and there can be some justice for some other child. I don't want any other parent to go through this," she said.
Let's all hope this young man's tragically short life will lead to awareness and understanding for all bullied youth.
Thanks to GLSEN.org