On April 6, 2009, a Massachusetts mother was doing what she did almost every night—making dinner for her family and helping her children with their homework. Her son, 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, excused himself and went upstairs to his room. Carl’s mother found her son hanging by an extension cord just minutes later. Carl had taken his own life after the relentless bullying he suffered at school became too much for him to bear. Carl never identified as gay, but students at his school constantly called him “fa**ot” and “gay” nonetheless. According to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), nearly two-thirds (65%) of middle and high school students reported being harassed or assaulted during the past year and more than a third (37%) said that bullying, name-calling or harassment is a somewhat or very serious problem at their school. GLSEN has created an online petition that urges lawmakers to support anti-bullying legislation that would require any school receiving federal funding to enact policies that prohibit bullying. To sign GLSEN’s petition, click here. Carl’s mother, Sirdeaner Walker, spoke out recently about her son’s untimely death:
One year ago Tuesday, my son Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover brought his life to an end after enduring relentless harassment and cruel bullying at school.
It is difficult to put into words what it feels like to remember that terrible day. But it is not difficult at all to do something positive in Carl’s memory.
That is why I hope you will join me in taking a moment from your busy day to reflect on Carl’s life and his tragic suicide – and to remember that bullying in schools has very serious and life-threatening consequences.GLAAD is working closely with Ms. Walker to encourage media outlets across the nation to remember Carl’s life and reflect on the pervasive problem of anti-gay bullying in America’s schools. Ms. Walker will appear on ABC’s 20/20 this Friday, April 9, to speak out against bullying and to remember Carl’s life.