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Boy, 11, died by suicide after gay taunts

Jessica Geen April 14, 2009
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An 11-year-old boy from Massachusetts, US, killed himself after he was repeatedly bullied by classmates who bombarded him with anti-gay taunts.

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover was found dead at his Springfield home last Monday night. He had hanged himself with an extension cable.

His mother, Sirdeaner L Walker, 44, found him when she returned home from a church service.

She said last week that he had been relentlessly bullied at the New Leadership Charter School for more than six months, with other students calling him gay, a ‘fag’ and making fun of his clothes.

However, the school blamed the incidents on “immaturity” and Carl was too scared to reveal who the perpetrators were, she said.

Ms Walker, a director of homeless aid programmes, added she had contacted the school repeatedly in an effort to stop the bullying.

Speaking to ABC News, she said: “”I am broken-hearted. We worry about the economy and about Iraq, but we need to be worried about our schools.

“I am determined for the rest of my life to advocate on behalf of students who are voiceless and silent.

“I have been homeless, but Carl and I made it through. I was a victim of domestic violence and we made it through. The one thing we couldn’t get through was public school.”

In 2007, 17-year-old Eric Mohat of Mentor, Ohio, shot himself after suffering from years of homophobic bullying.

Like Carl Walker-Hoover, he did not identify as gay but was targeted by bullies who called him ‘fag’, ‘queer’ and ‘homo’.

Eric’s parents, William and Janis Mohat, announced last week they have filed a lawsuit against Mentor High School for failing to protect him from the physical and verbal abuse he endured.

They have said they are not seeking money, and are instead hoping to have their son’s death recognised as “bullicide”, along with the school implementing an anti-bullying programme.

Related topics: Americas

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