Eleven-Year-Old Boy Endured Anti-Gay Bullying And Commits Suicide

[quote]On April 6, 2009, just days before his twelfth birthday, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, a sixth grade student at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, MA, was found hung from an extension cord that he used to wrap around his neck. Young Carl was a victim of anti-gay bullying, and the daily taunts drove him to take his own life. The kNOw Youth take a moment to reflect on this tragedy.[/quote]

For My Own Children
As I put myself in the shoes of Carl’s mother, I could not imagine losing my eleven-year-old son. To make matters worse, losing him because he took his own life. It is very sad how cruel kids can be. I don’t believe they know the full power they can have just by opening their mouths. They don’t think about the outcomes. That’s something that has always bothered me.

As a young child in elementary school, I remember that making fun of someone was an everyday thing. I know I did it, and not one time did I ever stop to think, “maybe this is really getting to them.” I could say I am not the only one who has made fun of someone else.

When I have children, I will teach them the importance of thinking about people’s feelings and I will do it at a very young age so maybe my own children can prevent one less child victim of bullying.
-Patrice, 18


Schools Should Do Something
Another dark moment has set upon me as I sit here listening to the tragic story of Carl. Who would have guessed that such a young boy at the age of 11 would commit suicide? Being taunted and bullied at school, Carl suffered so much from this world.

I wonder if this incident will encourage the school system to take a stronger position against bullying. I know for a fact it must be hard for Carl’s mother. Imagine if you lost your child because he was being isolated from his peers.

I feel that all schools should take into consideration the complaints that parents have. I get upset when schools don’t care about things like that. It always seems that they wait for something to happen, and then try to fix it. This is not the first case of a child committing suicide because of being bullied. The schools should be more aware of the issue on its campus and try to prevent it. Suicide is happening to kids at younger and younger ages, and it’s everyone’s job to prevent bullying so we can prevent another suicide.
-Dasen, 17


Bullying Gone Too Far
Shocked and scared I listened to the story of Carl, a little kid who committed suicide because he was being bullied. I understand that bullying is happening, but like everyone else, we never really think it can go that far.

Thinking back to my younger days, I was bullied, but the thought of suicide never came to my mind. It’s surprising what young children have to go through these days. To be honest, even though I was bullied, I also bullied others. The sad part is that I bullied nice kids who wouldn’t do anything back.

I regret bullying others, but I can’t do anything to change the past. My past mistakes make me ashamed, especially because I teased my peers about their sexual orientation. I used to throw around names and words not knowing what half of them even meant and also not even meaning them. I thought that Hollywood was just exaggerating too much, but actually hearing about Carl makes me realize how bad bullying has become.

Sadly it takes the death of this innocent boy to make society notice or care.
-Angelina, 16


No More Tolerance For Bullying
When it comes to bullying, there are many memories that come to mind. When I was in elementary school, I bashed a kid’s head into the water fountain because he looked at me the wrong way. I have bullied people in the past, but I matured and I have stopped the bullying habits. I wish I could apologize to the people I mistreated.

When I heard about the little boy who committed suicide, it struck me. He did it because people were making fun of him. This example shows us that we cannot tolerate bullying anymore, and that it is a type of behavior that is unacceptable in the schools. We can’t hide that these kids are struggling, even at this young age. When we notice that there is something wrong with a fellow classmate, we need to act fast.

The lasting impression of grief that this child has left for his mother is hurtful because she has to live day-by-day knowing that he won’t come back. To know he was having problems at school and that she tried to do something about it at school but they didn’t respond is ridiculous. I think this incident could have been prevented if the school would have taken an active approach to stop the bullying. The school could have consulted the students and parents together.

One idea is that schools can have public concerts or family events to stop bullying from happening in the neighborhood so that it won’t spill over into the school. Or schools can have interactive and engaging assemblies that educate students on the consequences and effects of bullying.
-Jesse, 17


Bullying Hurts
Bullying comes in many forms, from gossiping to violence. No matter what form it comes in, it all hurts in the same way. A few weeks ago, an eleven-year-old boy committed suicide after being taunted by his classmates for supposedly being gay. His mother tried many times to convince the school to stop the bullying, but it continued.

I have been bullied many times in my life, and each time was hurtful. Once, a boy threw a pebble at my head and called me “ugly.” I felt horrible and in turn, I ran over to him and choked him. After that year, I began to bully boys and not have confidence in myself.

Schools can intervene with bullying by keeping an eye on what’s happening. Adults should keep names anonymous to protect the child who is being bullied, and they should what they can to stop another child from being tormented.
-Victoria, 16


Words Can Kill
Wow, an eleven year old committed suicide! What is our world coming to? It’s absurd. This young boy was teased because of his perceived sexual orientation. People make fun of other people because of sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or even because of the way people dress.

But we have all probably been guilty of this action one time or another, talking about someone, spreading rumors, making fun. We need to realize that words hurt, especially when they are being repeated and by more than one person. We need to be considerate of other people’s feelings. We need to learn to put ourselves in their shoes, in their lives.

This kid killed himself because people were making fun of him, calling him names. Those kids pushed him to do it. It’s almost like murder.

Every school needs to have rallies or assemblies to educate students about suicide. Students need to know that their words can kill other people and that makes it almost like murder. It doesn’t take a gun anymore; it just takes a mouth full of hate to end someone’s life.
-Laqusha, 21

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

Related Posts