Bullying IS Violence Even Without Fists

There is nothing that could ever make up for what Sirdeaner Walker lost when her 11-year-old son hanged himself over bullying two years ago. There is no amount of money, no big new house, nothing that could ever make things better.

But his two younger siblings, aged 8 and 9, were given a full ride to the University of Massachusetts. Though it doesn't lessen the pain, it will ease some burdens so Walker can focus on her main goal -- ending bullying in the schools once and for all.

Carl Walker Hoover was only 11 when he committed suicide over constant taunts of being gay (he didn't identify as such). His mother went to the school every week, begging them to stop it, but school administrators would chalk it up to student immaturity, and Hoover was too frightened by the bullies to name names. Now, thanks to these scholarships, his brother and sister will have goals to strive for and achieve, but it will never change what happened.

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When I was a kid, bullying was just something that happened. Everyone experienced it. My sixth grade was a blur of horrific incidents with the meanest girl in the school who loved me one day and hated me the next. The roller coaster was so stressful, I spent half my time complaining about her to my mom, the school counselor, the principal, and teachers. I was a very assertive little girl.

But those who aren't suffer in silence. And there is no need for an 11-year-old to have to keep complaining about the same thing. The school should have taken it more seriously from the beginning. When I look back on my own situation, this one girl was a common theme with every girl in the sixth grade. There should have been far more done to prevent it. They tried, but back then, bullying wasn't as out in the open as it is today.

Today she would (hopefully) have been expelled from school if it kept up. And if she wasn't expelled, there would have been serious consequences for being so cruel. And many of those laws have changed because of Hoover's mother. She doesn't want to see one more family suffer like she has.

It's moving and shows a generosity of spirit that is humbling. Her son won't be forgotten and his brother and sister will have brighter futures. And, in the end, that is the best one can hope for under the circumstances.

My heart aches for them, but I'm sure they will use their education to make things better.

Did you ever suffer bullying?

 

Image via Alejandro Hernandez./Flickr

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