April 17, 2009

A Parent's Worst Nightmare: The Real Story Behind Carl Walker-Hoover's Suicide

Essence Magazine interviewed Carl Walker-Hoover's mother this week. Just a few days shy of Carl's twelfth birthday (April 17), his mother is speaking out. Astonishingly calm and with great resolve, Sirdeaner Walker spoke to ESSENCE.com about what she believes the school did wrong, Carl's final days and the question that will forever loom in her mind — why?

ESSENCE.COM: You've received a lot of support from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Do you believe Carl was struggling with his sexuality?

WALKER: No, there was no indication of that. Carl was just 11 years old. I don't even think he reached puberty yet. His voice hadn't started to change. This is bigger than a gay issue. In fact, I'm worried about one of Carl's friends who is being picked on as well because she's overweight. That's why it's bigger than a gay issue. These kids will tease you over anything.

ESSENCE.COM: What happened on the day Carl died?

WALKER: Usually I drive Carl to the bus stop, but that morning I had an early conference call at work. When I got home that evening, he was sitting on the couch with his backpack. He has a big, rolling backpack that apparently knocked into a TV stand in his classroom that day. Carl told me that the TV [accidently] hit a student and she went off saying, "I'm going to kill you." And that's how it started. Carl came home very upset thinking he was going to be suspended. I started making supper and then he just went upstairs. I called his name and he didn't answer me. I went up to get him and that's when I found him.
Read the rest of the interview.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number is 800.273-8255).

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