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THIS is so incredibly, profoundly sad - but very important to read!
THIS is so incredibly, profoundly sad - but very important to read!
THIS is so incredibly, profoundly sad - but very important to read!
THIS is so incredibly, profoundly sad - but very important to read!
THIS is so incredibly, profoundly sad - but very important to read!
THIS is so incredibly, profoundly sad - but very important to read!

11-Year-Old Hangs Himself after Enduring Daily Anti-Gay Bullying

GLSEN Calls on Schools, Nation to Embrace Solutions to Bullying Problem

NEW YORK, April 9, 2009 - An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year.

Carl, a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 on April 17, the same day hundreds of thousands of students will participate in the 13th annual National Day of Silence by taking some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying and harassment at school. The other three known cases of suicide among middle-school students took place in Chatham, Evanston and Chicago, Ill., in the month of February.

"Our hearts go out to Carl’s mother, Sirdeaner L. Walker, and other members of Carl's family, as well as to the community suffering from this loss," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. "As we mourn yet another tragedy involving bullying at school, we must heed Ms. Walker’s urgent call for real, systemic, effective responses to the endemic problem of bullying and harassment. Especially in this time of societal crisis, adults in schools must be alert to the heightened pressure children face, and take action to create safe learning environments for the students in their care. In order to do that effectively, as this case so tragically illustrates, schools must deal head-on with anti-gay language and behavior."

Two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive. The top reason was physical appearance.

"As was the case with Carl, you do not have to identify as gay to be attacked with anti-LGBT language," Byard said. "From their earliest years on the school playground, students learn to use anti-LGBT language as the ultimate weapon to degrade their peers. In many cases, schools and teachers either ignore the behavior or don’t know how to intervene."

Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students.

In most cases, the harassment is unreported. Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (60.8%) who experience harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school. The most common reason given was that they didn’t believe anything would be done to address the situation. Of those who did report the incident, nearly a third (31.1%) said the school staff did nothing in response. While LGBT youth face extreme victimization, bullying in general is also a widespread problem. More than a third of middle and high school students (37%) said that bullying, name-calling or harassment is a somewhat or very serious problem at their school, according to From Teasing to Torment. Bullying is even more severe in middle school. Two-thirds of middle school students (65%) reported being assaulted or harassed in the previous year and only 41% said they felt very safe at school.

Carl's suicide comes about a year after eighth-grader Lawrence King was shot and killed by a fellow student in a California classroom, allegedly because he was gay.

GLSEN recommends four simple approaches schools can take to begin addressing bullying now.

Said Walker in the Springfield Republican: "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."

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.

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284 comments to “Heartbreaking”

More comments: [1] 2 3 »

  1. 1

    We live in a sick fucking world where we have to people for who they are.

  2. 2


  3. 3

    i think the link is broken…

  4. 4

    Oh wow. :(

  5. 5


  6. 6


  7. 7

    ummm the link don't work……

  8. 8

    this is so sad :(
    thoughts to the boys family and friends,
    it must be extremely upsetting for them, considering the gay rights have gone so far alone in 2009

  9. 9


  10. 10

    it doesnt work!!!!

  11. 11

    thats horrible!

  12. 12

    That happend in Springfield MA . ! My friend knew him she was his teacher and teacher of some of his friends

  13. 13

    the links dont take me to the story

  14. 14

    i hope the little bastards that do this type of shit are happy with themselves…actually i hope they fucking lay awake at night from nightmares…intolerable people are the worst kind…they are so insecure with themselves that they try to make others feel bad about theirselves so they can feel better…its so sick!!!

  15. 15

    Wow…so very sad, Perez. My heart goes out to his family. This country has become such a judgmental place to live and raise children in. I wonder when people will wake up or if they ever will!

  16. 16

    Poor kid. My heart goes out to his family. :'(

  17. 17

    first and this is so sad

  18. 18

    So sad!

  19. 19

    i wish the family all the support in the world right now, i can imagine what they are going thru..my cousin hung himself a few years ago, and i still cant get past the grief. its a terrible thing when someone so young passes on and doesnt get to live their life…

  20. 20

    Re: HoleJigSaw
    You are extremely sick person. That picture fits you just righ; you are CRAZY! What goes around, comes around, children these days can be so cruel and it is very sad. Gay or not, nobody should be picked on to the point of wanting to take their own life.

  21. 21

    I'm crying! Poor kid! I pray for his mother. I can't imagine her grief.
    While being anti PC, be careful not to teach the children hate in all the fun you are having. They get this from US!
    Bless his soul.

  22. 22

    Poor kiddo. What's wrong with people today that they feel it's ok to do these kinds of things? What kind of people are raising America's youth that they grow up to be so cold and callous? People are always screaming about pro-life this and that but seriously we need to start looking into assisted abortions and sterilization as far as I am concerned. There are many people in this world who should NOT be allowed to procreate because they won't take proper care of the people they bring into this world! That would end our problem with welfare abusers, it'd cut down GREATLY on convicts, and it'd reduce crime an insane amount.

    Would the system be flawed? Of course, but it's better to let the few suffer for the many than the many suffer for the few!

  23. 23

    People find it okay to call gays names yet would never call blacks names! Calling gays names should be frowned upon but people still laugh

  24. 24

    i hate humanity when i read articles like this.
    its so sad….

  25. 25

    OMG! That is horrible.

  26. 26

    Poor kid :(
    I hope those kids feel the guilt forever

  27. 27

    Damn… :S
    How sad and disturbing…

  28. 28


  29. 29

    I am so sad! My prayers go out to his family!

  30. 30

    perez check these comments i smell racism i though only youtube had it in myspace smhh what a worlf we live in =[

  31. 31

    SO SADDDD. I will retweet

  32. 32

    how very sad…people can be so judgemental

  33. 33

    wow omg soo sad.

    people are soo fucking cruel i cannot describe how that angers me soo much.

    people are free to live however they want.

    why do people still judge??

  34. 34

    apparently, the kid wasn't even gay. which means the bullies were terrible people, AND idiots.

  35. 35

    Obviously children are the peers of this suicidal child why are all of you cursing children? THEY LEARN THIS BEHAVIOR FROM THEIR PARENTS. Children are not born hating others. For those of you who are judging children…Pffhh quit being so naive and start seeing the root–Parents.

    So for those of you who want to send positive support you have the right frame of mind, but really cursing 12-year-olds? And ya'll are saying the world is fucked up take a look at you!

  36. ambam says – reply to this


    Incredibly sad.
    He was sooo young.
    May he rest in peace.
    & hopefully those who bullied him will be brought to justice.

  37. 37

    heb er geen woorden voor :(

  38. 38

    This happened where I live - it's horrible. Kids are so cruel these days. Parents need to teach their children it is not okay to taunt. What this boy did was tragic, and I hope those children who taunted him understand what they did and regret it for the rest of their lives. As for the school, they need to be charged with at least something, the poor mother was calling and calling week after week about her son being taunted. More links to the article is at: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/mom_says_springfield_boy_11_wh.html

    thanks perez for posting this, it means alot to the Springfield MA community to let others know what is going on in the world, especially with kids and bullying.

  39. 39

    This Is Just Another Tragic Example Of The Sick World That We Live In, My Thoughts And Prayers Go Out To The Family Of This Child And Any Child Dealing With Things Like This Throughout Their Every Day Lives

  40. 40

    Kids are cruel as hell! so sad!

  41. 41

    OMG!!! I dont get why school in America Can be so neglectful.

    Billo must be real proud.

  42. 42

    Thank you.
    I love this site.
    because of articles like this.
    Not only do u deliver the gossip like dominos
    but u include articles of substance mixed in.
    Which makes this site not just fun and entertaining but also a worthwhile place to stop for
    relevant news and humanitarian opportunities.
    keep it up man, i hope to meet u some day.


  43. 43

    The next big STIGMA to conquer is with mental illness…so many end up killing themselves due to how the public views them and how hard it is to deal with the illness. Society plays a huge role in the recovery of someone with mental illness. The media sensationalizes mental illness in order to instill fear. They do this at the expense of real people struggling everyday to overcome an illness. An illness that is not socially acceptable and extremely misunderstood. This discrimination is years behind all other forms of discrimination. www.gaininginsight.com (check out my blog too and read comments people leave)

  44. 44

    Re: HoleJigSaw – You are one sick son of a bitch.

  45. 45


  46. 46

    Your sexuality is only a part of your personality. I never get why some people are so obsessed with other people's preferences. As long as consenting adults are involved I personally don't give a damn about what's going on in my neighbour's bedroom. Teach your children well so they won't pass judgement on others.

  47. 47

    thats so sad :( ….my heart goes out to the family.

  48. 48

    WOW this is soooo sad….

  49. 49

    That is just awful. I feel so bad for that kids family. Really fucking hope the little turds who were bullying him turn their act around. Hope that the parents if they knew about the bullying will set them straight.
    Just…. awful….. seriously.. my heart is breaking for that poor boy who saw no way out of it other than to take his own life. Suicide should never be an answer to anything.

  50. 50

    The saddest part is gay bashing is a learned behavior, yes, from peers but mostly from parents.

  51. 51

    why do people still bully other people i mean c'mon its 2009 for god sakes can we all grow up already and except that we are not all the same?? goodness

  52. 52

    that is shocking and tragic…the poor family

  53. 53

    this is horrible :(

  54. 54

    an 11 year old hanging himself? i wonder what's next.

  55. 55

    That is just f*n horrible…. why can't we all just be free to be whoever we want to be? Why do we have to have a label for everything?

  56. 56

    omg, this story is truly heart breaking.
    it brought me to tears ='[

  57. 57

    why isnt anything being done about these things! people need to start listening!!!

  58. 58

    wow that sucks hard!

  59. 59

    Re: SheHasBigBoobs
    can you have some kind of heart you disgusting piece of shit?

  60. 60

    poor little kid :( it should never happen…

  61. MeIsH says – reply to this


    thats really fuckin messed up ill pray for the family

  62. 62

    You don't have to be gay ti be harassed. I was in the 7-8th grade so bad that my mom had to remove me from the school and drive me across town to another one. The school system at that time did nothing to help me. Very sad this poor kid has his whole life ahead of him and a couple of assholes had to make themselves feel better by picking on him. SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE!!!!!

  63. 63

    Re: HoleJigSaw
    go die, you son of a bitch.

  64. 64

    Re: HoleJigSaw – Go kill yourself

  65. 65

    so, so, so sad. my heart goes out to his family

  66. 66

    Re: SheHasBigBoobs – clearly you should be included in that category, dumbass

  67. 67

    this is really sad, i really hope that schools will start taking bullying seriously.

  68. Kelsy says – reply to this


    Kids will be kids, they will tease for whatever they perceive to be a "weakness" fat, skinny, braces, short, tall regardless all kids do it and most have it done to them. While any child suicide is terrible exploiting it as a gay issue is sickening low. He certainly is not the first child to do it, nor will he be the last.

  69. 69

    D; aww thats horrible.

  70. 70

    This is so sad and very scary–if you have children, you HAVE to talk to them about this–WORDS HURT!!!

  71. 71

    this is soo heartbreaking. It's incredibly sad how we live in such an insufficient evironment where kids are being taught that it's alright to hate on people who aren't straight. And most of them get it from their parents.


  72. 72

    My heart goes out to his family. Bullying - for whatever reason, is so sick — and sick are the people who do it.
    I do think adult need to get involved more.

  73. 73

    Evil fucking people. did anyone hear of the 11 year old fucker who put razor blades on a slide and then a little boy got cut up on them????

  74. 74

    This is absolutely horrible! I would love to just bitch slap all of the kids who were bullying the poor kid.

  75. 75

    Re: alicialicious – I really agree with you that it is learned from the parents - not in ever situation, but in many/most. That's the reason I feel other adults in the schools & neighborhoods need to step up their involvement.

  76. 76

    That is absolutely horrible!! Something has to be done!!! People are so cruel! And they're sure not raising their kids to be any better!!

  77. 77

    As someone who has worked in a school and has been much more pro-student than pro-teacher, I must say teachers, admin, and schools as a whole often overlook a lot of shit that goes on in the building. It fucking sucks. And teachers tend to complain big time about their awful jobs… ya know what, quit and give someone young with fresh ideas your job.

  78. 78

    Re: Rebecca-

    I've been called anti-gay slay along with racially insensitive terms. You don't have to be gay to be harassed.

  79. 79

    Re: Maybelle


  80. 80

    All the laws and programs to stop hate speech will not solve the problem of the hopelessness and shameful feelings gay children have. Gay children have to have self esteem and confidence to handle situations that will occur no matter what. Gay adults hide their orientation for the same reasons and stay in the closet their whole lives.

  81. 81

    Jeeeeeeeeeeesus, its 2009 everyone! We're meant to be the most technologically advanced we've ever been, and its supposed to be the free-est times of anyones lifes, so why can't prejudiced fucks get over themselves + accept that people are gay, lesbian or transsexual, or anything else they want to be! I'm straight, and i don't want to make gay people hate themselves so much that they end up committing suicide. People truly are sick. What a shit world we live in these dayss. =/ feel so bad for his family :( rip x

  82. 82

    I don't get it… isn't the world supposed to be moving forward??? Why is this happening??? People deserve RESPECT regardless of who they are …. :( R.I.P.!

  83. 83

    R.I.P hun….

  84. 84

    Re: HoleJigSaw – i like how you think its funny what you are doing ( know that im not mad becuase i know that it is your attempt to make people mad) well you get a boo.

  85. 85

    Re: SheHasBigBoobs – The "truth" you speak is an ignorant racist truth. You must not know very many black people to be able to say such a stupid comment.

  86. 86

    Schools need to start doing stuff to protect its children, not its teachers. Ive had problems with my sons kindergarten class. which is absolutely stupid. My son actually got sick because of problems he was having in school and the principal refused to address the real issue. I took him out of the school and put him in a completely different one.

  87. 87

    Re: SheHasBigBoobs – your just as slow. like seriously I'm not even going to bother to argue because you are just so slow and it would be a waist of time.

  88. 88

    Re: HoleJigSaw – you sick fuck,
    go to fucken hell,
    honestly, even if you were against his sexual orientation/race/way of life, etc
    you should still have enough of a fucking heart to feel sickened and shocked the way that most people, including i, are feeling while reading this
    its dumbfucks like you that would do something as stupid as this to the point where a little boy, who couldve had his entire life ahead of him, kill himself.
    fuck you.

  89. 89

    It sickens me how stuff like this happens… so sad :(

  90. 90

    Re: HoleJigSaw – 10 Utterly inappropriate comment, whoever you are.

  91. 91

    God Bless this poor child. :(

  92. 92

    RIP, poor kid, poor family, looks like the school is at fault here

  93. 93

    So so sad.
    I don't understand why school adminstrators, teachers and coaches don't do more to protect kids from bullying. He was only 11 years old.. who the hell's in charge at American schools?

  94. 94

    I'm not surprised. How many teachers saw this kid being bullied & did nothing? I bet a good majority of parents of these kids are bullies & intolerant themselves.

  95. 95

    Firstly, before I start commenting on the article, I'd like to say that I'm a huge proponent of the First Amendment. Especially Free Speech. That being said, is there any way to block that user HoleJigSaw? He's really just making himself a target by being such a prejudiced bigot, and I think there would be less of a threat against him if he was no longer allowed to comment on this, or any other, thread.

    Okay. Now to the article.

    It's not just the parents, it's not just the peers, it's not just the school environment. To stop hate crimes, because that's what I think this amounts to, we have to change the entire societal view on gay people. Especially gay kids. It's hard enough to be gay in America. We shouldn't make it even more difficult for kids who are just now figuring out their sexuality. It's not okay to say 'fag' or 'queer' or 'dyke' as an insult. They are not derogatory terms. They are a way for the gay community to self-identify.

  96. 96

    I feel so horribly for Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover's family… Their beloved child wasn't gay, but from all the gay slurs and gay -bashing used against him, he killed himself. I feel very strongly that no one should ever commit suicide, despite who they might be and what they might've done in life, because it's a way of escapism. If only Carl Walker-Hoover had had someone to talk to about the situation at his school, about his thoughts and feelings! I can't believe that the school didn't take his mothers' pleas seriously.. Bullying is not a joke, and it's not just "school yard behavior." It's a serious issue that has serious repercussions, as we well know.

  97. 97

    '09 has become a landmark year in the Gay Rights Movement, and I think it's extremely important to remember that every movement has unnecessary casualties that could have been avoided. I want every single right-wing anti-gay group and organization to read this article, to hear about Carl Walker-Hoover, and to realize that by pushing their hateful propaganda and agenda, they are killing innocent people. Innocent STRAIGHT people as well as innocent gay people. I want these organizations to see the effect they have on families and kids. I want them to feel the pain that Carl Walker-Hoover felt when he decided to take his own life. But most of all, I want these organizations to see that their propaganda has caused some Americans to feel such hate and such prejudice that they feel the necessity to cause the DEATHS of innocent Americans.

  98. 98

    Those of us who are members of the Gay Rights Movement need to keep in mind that it's not only the gay community who need progress and equality. It's all Americans and all those who feel the pain of hate and prejudice, no matter their sexuality, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or economic status.

  99. mbeb says – reply to this


    I'm so sad for this boy and his family! It truly is heartbreaking how mean kids are today and how unconcerned parents are about it. I can't even imagine what this poor child had to go through every day to know that the only other alternative for him was to hang himself. I hope all those kids that bullied him everyday are praying for forgiveness right now!

  100. 100

    Its terrible that it takes an 11 year old hanging himself for schools to address a problem like this. schools need to get their priorities strait and address problems like this…i also hate teenagers. brats.

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