An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself earlier this week after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. She said she found her son, a sixth-grader at the school, hanging by an extension cord upstairs at their home.
This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year. The other three known cases of suicide among middle-school students took place in Chatham, Evanston and Chicago, Ill., in the month of February.
Carl, a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 on April 17, the same day hundreds of thousands of students will participate in the 13th annual National Day of Silence by taking some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying and harassment at school.
|Vigil for Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover|
Villagers, does this story bother you as much as me? According to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of suicide among 10-14 year olds has more than doubled in the past twenty years. "Although suicide among young children is a rare event, the dramatic increase in the rate among persons aged 10-14 years underscores the urgent need for intensifying efforts to prevent suicide among persons in this age group."
I encourage villagers to learn some tips for teens to prevent suicide. And we should keep the Walker-Hoover family in our prayers.