Program Note: Tune in tonight for Randi Kaye's full report on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Randi Kaye | Bio
He was just 11-years-old! That’s what makes this story so incredibly sad.
I’m on my way to Massachusetts today to interview a mother who says her 11-year-old son committed suicide because he was bullied at school. Carl Joseph Walker Hoover was a sixth grader at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He started school there last September and his mother, Sirdeaner Walker, says the bullying was endless.
Mrs. Walker says other students told her son, “you look gay” and “you act gay.” She says they made fun of him for the way he dressed and that one student even threatened to kill him.
She says she called the school every week to try and get her son help. She knew how painful this bullying was for him. Even though she’s a member of the Parent Teacher Organization, she says nobody helped her son.
Carl was a good student. He went to church every Sunday with his mom and was in the Boy Scouts. He also played football. But the bullying didn’t stop. So last week, while his mother was cooking dinner at home, Carl went upstairs to his bedroom and hanged himself with an electrical cord. His mother found him and had to cut him down. All she could do she says was scream.
Sirdeaner Walker agreed to talk to us because she wants other parents to know what can happen as a result of bullying. And it’s happened before. In Ohio, a couple is suing the school after their son took his life. They say he was bullied to death and the school did nothing to stop it.
Believe it or not, Carl’s mom isn’t angry. She says she’s a Christian who believes in God. She says some good will come from her son’s death.
After numerous attempts to contact the New school for its response about this tragedy, we received the following statement from Peter J. Daboul, Chairman of the Board of the New Leadership Charter School.
The entire New Leadership Charter School family is deeply saddened by the loss of Carl Walker Hoover. It is unthinkable that an eleven-year old child would end his precious life. Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to the family and friends of Carl. We deeply regret the loss of his life.
No child should ever be subject to bullying and teasing, but we are all aware that it does exist among young people. As adults we must always be attentive and intervene appropriately. The staff at New Leadership Charter School has consistently addressed this issue whenever it has come to their attention, and they have placed special emphasis on the need for respect among the entire school population as an integral part of the leadership training provided to students. As Chairman of the Board of Trustees of New Leadership Charter School, I plan to initiate an investigation into the facts and the allegations to ensure that the school responded in an appropriate manner.
Tune in for more on the situation tonight.
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