MassLive.com is reporting that Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11-year-old student in Springfield, Mass., hanged himself on Monday after repeatedly being bullied. Students of New Leadership Charter School targeted him daily, calling him gay, taunting him about his clothing and threatening him.
It was never made clear if Walker-Hoover said he was gay (He was just 11, after all.), but the word gay was used as an insult and a means to harass him. The mother made weekly calls to the school administration about the bullying, but it still went on. This was apparently a problem for the boy the entire school year.
When a child feels that marginalized at school and they feel the only way out is death, it is not okay. If the mother did in fact call the administration over and over, something should have been done. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say after this death. (They were not quoted in the article.)
Regardless of whether the child was actually gay, the term shouldn’t be used as an insult. That word coupled with threats made this boy feel so bad that he would rather die than endure another day of harassment. This is always wrong. Gay should not be used to hurt people.
The bullies and administration have blood on their hands.