April 14th, 2009
04:21 PM ET

Tonight: Text 360°

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/08/art.text360.jpg]

Tonight Randi Kaye reports from Springfield, Massachusetts where she's interviewing 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. He was a good student, went to church every Sunday with his mom and was in the Boy Scouts. But his mother says the bullying was relentless. Last week, while shewas 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.

Do you have any questions about bullying? Text us your questions and we'll answer them during the program.

Text AC and your name, location and question to 94553!

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soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. kiffer1012

    To 'Dee in Virginia': I applaud you for stepping in when you witnessed a bullying situation. Too often we adults think twice about getting involved when a minor is concerned out of fear that the minor or his/her parents will turn the story upside down and make a complaint against us, as what happened in your case. Don't stop being the way you are...you, your friend and your husband are admirable people!

    April 14, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  2. Jim M

    What training and tools are given teachers regarding bullying – other than perhaps a one hour symposium to recognize the bully?

    I remember when I was in a Catholic grade school (50+ years ago) there was a young lady who was slower and looked different. Her bully was the nun who called her Zazu Pitts and other names.

    When my wife began teaching in high school she (5'4") was assigned to a class of "difficult" strudents and was slammed against the blackboard by one of the 6'+ mental giants.

    It seems that schools just don't like to face the facts of durg use, unless someone is smoking a joint in the hall or of the bully situation.

    Is there a 1-800 number to assist kids and their parents?

    April 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm |
  3. Moorecsj

    I was bullied in elementary and my freshman year of high school. I cannot tell you how real it was for me. I vividly remember what occured and how it felt. I am 43 years old now and I still remember it. I just felt as if I just wanted my life over with at that time and I just did not know how to deal with it. My parents were standard parents I guess who figured I would come to them if I had a problem. I was an A/B student so they did not think I had any issues. What I realize now is that I should have told someone – my sister, my parents, or someone at church. I was embarrassed I guess and thought that I should have been able to handle it on my own. I will admit, I thought it would be easier to just end my life, but my church upbringing I guess would not allow me to entertain the thought. What I also realize is that I did not have the problem, but the harassers were deeply troubled children who had issues in their lives or at home. Being the quiet and shy one, I was an easy target. The only way to combat this problem and to avoid any shame or embarrassement is to allow bullies to be reported- whether openly or annonymously. Adolesents need help and they may not aways come forth openly out of fear or just embarassment. As an adult, I am watchful for the signs and ask my children if there is someone bullying them or if they need to talk about a problem or situation. I do this knowing children may not open up and volunteer information, because at one point that was me. Because of this, I purposely enrolled my eldest child in a self-defense course which boosted his self-esteem big time. My youngest is scheduled to start in the fall. He was picked on and bullied for about 3 – 4 years off and on and all changed once he learned Tae-kwon Doe. We have not had any more problems with bullies.

    April 14, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  4. sw

    I was bullied just like this kid. It was horrible and placed me in the hands of depression and suicidal thoughts. On a few occasions I've even tried to hurt myself. Parents please understand that kids – even your kids – can be cruel. Speak to them, guide them to treat others with respect and to find out how they feel and what's going on in their lives. And if there are any school officials reading this, please care for those children that walk into your classrooms. When you see bullying take the time to stop it, because you'd be helping to spare a child a life time of pain – something that the victims (like me) of bullies continue to deal with even into adulthood. May God bless that mother, and the soul of the young man who died. And may God bless the hearts of those bullies to change for the better.

    April 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  5. Scott Schroyer

    All day people have talked about all the money the illegal imagrants have paid in to the social security. Are you kidding me do you actually think the people that hire these illegals are upstanding enough to turn the taxes in to the social security? I like our Mexican friends and I know they are hard workers no question about it. I just think they need to be legal when they do it so they can help pay for the health care that they are getting sometimes for free on our dime. It maybe hard to round them all up and try to send them back while splitting up familys so I am not for that but I also think just giving them a free pass is not right either. We also need to finish the fence and have it watched and defended what if they bring something else besides drugs ie. bombs.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  6. Donshel (MD)

    I have a son who is 7 years old and he is being bullied at a new public school in 2nd grade. This is the first time attending a public school and he has been having problems with this one kid in his class and the school realizes that the bully is the problem and they will not reprimand him. I have had a meeting with the school, not the parent because the school will not allow this. They even suggested that I move my child to a different class, not the bully. I have spoken with the Area Superintendents and they too seem less inclined to do anything about. Therefore, I am left to transfer my son to a different school outside the school zone for 3rd grade. As a result of the bullying, my son's self-image has decreased, he tries to pretend the bully is his friend out of feeling isolated, he's exemplifying behavior that is not approriate and out of the norm. I have started sending him to a therapist to try and help deal with his emotions to keep him from suppressing his emotions. He is having nightmares and sometimes I am afraid he might do something drastic because he told the therapist that he would want to hurt people that are hurting him and this scared me. Basically, my son has been traumitized by this experience and I feel helpless trying to do everything I can do on my own. I feel as though the Principal of a school should have more power over a 7 year old bully to mandate that stepping on school propertyt has no room for bullying and should reprimand anyone who does not abide by the rule. The obvious thing about bullying is that it is continuous so there is no reason to allow this to go on and not be handled by adults (faculty). I am about to take my issue to Capital Hill, I think since on the local level, the schools are powerless than there should be federal laws in place.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  7. matt

    I feel bad for the family and the boy who died. I am a teacher and we get blamed for everything. So as a parent why didnt you do research. Every parent believes everything their child tells them. There may be more to the story. Also, if the parent knew her child was getting buillied, why didn't she take action by demanding a meeting with the parent(s) of the kids or force the PTA to have an emergency meeting. Now lets say a child went into a school bathroom and hung themselves, we would blame that on the teacher and school correct. However, the child hung himself in her home maybe 50 feet or so away and we still blame the teacher/school. Not the children or parents of the children or myself but the teacher and the school. People need to take responsibility and step up to the plate, stop placing blame on everyone else. What can I do to make a solution.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  8. Jake McClain

    This is an incredibly sad story, and especially since the kid was 11 years old.

    But here's an idea.

    Parents, quit turning your kids into pansies and say "tell your teachers", and "don't fight". Faculty, quit saying "kids will be kids", and punishing the victims for fighting back! Kids know that if they strike someone, they'll probably be suspended. Also doesn't help that you can't sneeze on another without getting suspended, so others feel that they have to take a gun or knife to school.

    I miss the days where stopped the bullying by settling it one on one. Bullies are cowards, and they hate getting butchered up. There's no ad campaigns, faculty, and pantywaist child psychologists with all the answers that can stop this. What can stop this is giving your kids a sense of worth, and telling them they can fight back from this.

    A lot of parents and teachers are to blame for this one, not the kids. I feel so sorry for the mother having to witness her child like this. I also just wonder how it got this far.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  9. sadface

    Is it just me or has this article prompted a very frightening number of families with personal experience with bullying-related suicide to post on here? The numbers are astounding; there is something very disgustingly wrong with the education system here in the States.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  10. veronica

    This is very sad. My heart and prayers go out to the mother and family.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:32 pm |
  11. lisa

    Bullying is unacceptable no matter what. As a mother of 2 children I have to say I think I have seen it more in the middle school years and then if not curtailed gets worse in high school. It may go on in elementary but not like those middle school years. There is no difference between bullying and harassment and if you can file charges for harassment then if a parent sees there child is being bullied/harassed then they should file charges against that child, their parents and the school. That might finally wake some people up!!!
    My daughter went through it, and my son is not yet in middle school but I assure you if I go through even 1/2 of what I went through with her,, I will be filing police charges.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:31 pm |
  12. Carrie

    Schools don't do enough to stop bullying and often look the other way. Our school district instituted a new anti-bullying policy this year, but if it's not enforced by teachers and administrators, then what's the point? It looks good on paper, but that's it.

    My middle child is 13 and quite tall for his age. He has been taking Tae Kwon Do classes for several years. Last year, he defended himself against the bullies. What happened to him? He got in trouble right along with them. We've told him to ignore the bullies. It doesn't work. If he defends himself, he gets in trouble. We've told him to report it to the teachers. They don't listen and dismiss it most of the time. The only time that action has been taken is when we've contacted the school and demanded resolution. The school's discipline Dean told my son to come to him when problems arise. My son has done just that. What did the Dean tell him? "If it happens again, let me know." Nothing is said or done to the bully. Last year, there was a group of older students that was picking on my son and his group of friends at lunch. When they reported the bullying to the lunch monitor, a coach, he asked the bullies if they were bothering their group. Of course, the punks denied doing anything wrong. The bullies know that the adults in charge don't want to bother with having to enforce the policies/rules. That's the reason they continue to get away with it.

    My heart goes out to Carl's mom. I can't even begin to imagine the pain that she felt when she found her son. Horribly tragic. Schools like to claim that every decision they make is based on the student's best interest. Sadly, that's not the case. The students often come last.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  13. mark herrmann

    This could have been prevented. When the school systems, like the Catholic church with priests that abuse yound children, begin to get sued by parents and victims and families, then perhaps it will be taken more seriously. I heard of a school recently that had similar problems with bullies. The principle had a great idea that worked wonderfully. They distributed questionairres to all students for them to fill out in confidence–to identify the bullies, discuss how they were being bullied etc... the same kids showed up over and over. The counselors and principle then isolated the bullies, got them counseling and identified the root problems. The school had a strong anti bully policy-it was simply not tolerated, but they went further to identify who / when / why. The rest of the children felt protected by bringing attention to the matter in confidence.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:25 pm |
  14. Karen

    Teachers and staff must take this issue seriously!!!!!! But sadly they do not. My son was bullyed continually through middle school staff didn't know what to do. They would say it was bad but do nothing! He switched schools and it was better. He is now in High School and just last week on the way back from a track meet a larger kid picked my son up and moved him to the back of the line. Where is the help my son dismiss it and said it's ok. He has had worst happen. It's sad parents and teachers are not involved more. Also the same kids were bullying a smaller kid on the team and my son stood up for this other kid and told the bullys to stop. They said they will either pick on him or my son. My son said pick on me. They didn't know what to do. I am proud of my son has has turned into a strong man even through he has dealt with more than his share of bullying. This must change. Bullying is horrible no one should have to indure. Bullys need to be held accountable. They are Murdering helpless children!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 14, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  15. Curtis

    Suicide doors opened to an eleven year old boy, hung himself with an electrical cord and his mother had to cut him down...I suppose anger would be an understatement when it comes to this story. It quite honestly infuriates me.

    I suppose my only question would be...rather than focusing on the bullying itself, did anyone focus on fellow students to stick up for this kid? An opportunity for teachers, counselors, students, and parents to teach students how to stick up for someone else, at least long enough for them to fight for themselves. So another question...Where was the focus during this bullying?

    April 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  16. sarah

    I was bullied through out my entire elementary and junior high, i would go home and cry to my parents and they would just say that i was over reacting. i also was an oly child so i had no one else to turn to or look up to for protection. i made it through those years and today i have a better control on how i let people treat me, but i know how kids can have a breaking point when its just too much. now that im a mother im making sure that my child doesn't act the way the kids did in my school. if anything i want him to be the one that finally stands up for all those kids that do get picked on. for all of the parents out there when your child tells you that they are being picked on or bullied make sure you listen to them and see if there is anything that can be done to help you child.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  17. Jerry Daniels

    This is horrible and my prayers go out to the family of this young man. We try to teach our children to respect others and we try to help them develope into law abiding citizens. This story is what drives parents to teach their children to fight back even if that means picking up the closes thing handy to defend themselves. We have to learn to pay much closer attention to our childrens emotions and actions as well as listen to them when they are trying to inform us about their childhood affairs. If a criminal can plead insanity for committing hideous crimes and be let off; then certainly the mother of this young man has the right to sue the school for her sons emotional distress which ultimately led to his death.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  18. Sue from Chicago

    My child is 11 years old and also faces bullying in his middle school. Every single day I have to pick him up from the bus stop otherwise he gets beaten up. How is it American kids are so incredibily mean? How is it that American parents lets their children become like this? I have lived is various different countries and in these countries children are more respectful towards their elders and are afraid of being punished my parents. Other countries have some form of bullying in college but not in school. I would like to know why American parents are losing control over their children?

    April 14, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  19. Marihelen

    i think bullying should be stopped right away.when i read this , i had just realized that this has been going on. the peopole that had bullied the poor child should feel bad. he had had enough and had commited suicide.there are probably many more kids just like carl. they shouldnt hurt themselves because some people bullies and obnoxious and rude. bullying needs to STOP!

    April 14, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  20. Deb

    I was bullied viciously in school and at home straight-through to graduation. Several times I came very close to committing suicide because of the despair and loneliness this caused, that I still feel. I can assure you, there is no way on God's green earth this poor child's teachers did not know what was happening to him at school – no way at all. Shame on all of them for their epic failure to protect this child. Shame, shame, shame.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  21. hal

    I'm sorry for your loss Ma'am. I was a small kid and I got "picked on" ,or what you call bullying, a lot. Even with an uncle that was a heavyweight boxing champion during the second world war and taught me to box...I fought a lot. But I never got bullyed anymore. Some I lost, most I won.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  22. Kayla Chouinard

    My mom 's cousins little boy did the same thing.I never knew him, but my mom tells me the story often and teaches my brothers and me that teasing is a very bad thing. I am only 9 and I stop other kids from teasing at school. Please parents teach your kids not to tease, and remember kids that if you are a teaser and someone you teased ends their life you will have to live with the quilt for the rest of your life.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  23. Kamal

    School bullying, violence, guns, sex and drugs are major challenges to advancing our education system to be competitive with other nations. President Obama is trying to advance our education system to accomplish this goal. However it does not matter how much money we spend, how many rewards we give, and how useful and extensive our training and reeducation can be the whole thing starts with the family. We need to focus more resources on our families to bring healthy kids so that they are able to compete and excel. The word healthy does not cover only physical health, it covers mental, psychological, and emotional parts of it. It also has to address strengthening our values and bringing back all tools that help promote this including religion, parents and media responsibilities, and school guidelines and rules. Until we do this very little will be accomplished.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  24. Jen

    I, as well, was bullied all through school. Whether it was because my parents were divorced in the 1970's which wasn't so common or because my mom couldn't afford designer clothesor I was overweight or because I was introverted – the bullying stole my childhood and MOST of my life. I was sexaully abused/raped by a bully in high school. I was tripped, pushed down, made fun of, slammed into walls, kicked into lockers and suffered horrible humiliation DAILY. My mom tried to help, but no one listened to her.
    Now I am 40 years old dealing with a severe eating disorder, trying to build self-esteem and somehow lead a normal life. I was in 2 abusive marriages with men who were bullies. I got out of both somehow. Now someone at work recently even said to me that I'm really "different". I'm a licensed professional and make very good money. I do my job extremely well. However, apparently even in the white collar world bullies still run rampant. No matter what I do to overcome the bullying, I always come off as a bitter b*tch.
    I still see my childhood bullies. Interestingly, they have NOT changed. I am trying and succeeding, albeit slowly. I have been afraid most of my life to stand up or be noticed for fear of being ridiculed.
    I have one child who is under 2 yrs and I refuse to allow him to see me so dysfunctional that it effects him. He will grow up to be a strong compassionate man. His father, my partner, is the compassionate man I always needed – and he stands up for me and protects me – something I never felt before.
    When will people understand how bullying is no different from verbal and emotional abuse – whether it's children or adults. It's no different. It hurts deep into one's core. It will effect your child for their entire life. It's not harmless fun. Obviously, it kills.
    If you suspect a child is being bullied, there's nothing wrong with standing up for that child to teachers, administrators and the parents of the bullies. Save your kid's life.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  25. Trygve

    To Keith Amparado,
    Thank you for sharing. I'm not black, but I was teased terribly all through school. I don't know how I survived it. For awhile I did consider suicide. It was really bad. Honestly, I still hate those kids. I forgive them, because they were kids too. But there's the little girl in me that can't forget.
    Anyway, there's a book out there I wanted to tell you about.
    Death At An Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Child in the Boston Public Schools. by Jonathan Kozol

    If I had minority children, I would never, ever, ever, send them to a public or private school. Not unless it was really ritzy, and I knew for sure it was okay.
    I would only homeschool my child. I'm caucasian and I homeschool.
    Wouldn't have it any other way.


    April 14, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  26. Justin Clanton

    As a proud gay American, I can disdainfully tolerate the rights currently not afforded to me because if my innate sexual orientation. However, as a community both gay and straight, as Americans, as human beings, we can no longer sit by and watch children destroyed by the lack of compassion and understanding that runs rampant inany pockets of our society. As a child, I was bullied viciously and repeatedly while school personell stood by often lightly joining in. I am fortunate to have survived. It is the duty of each of us to teach each other and our children that hate is never tolerable and that we must embrace our differences fir they are the fabric of who we are. As a former staff member or Hetrick Martin, I commend them on the amazing work they continue to do- if only there were more places that gave our lgbtq children a place of refuge and unconditional love- keep up the truely amazing work.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  27. carol h.

    What a heart breaking story. But not unusual anymore. I had a school mate that bullied me every day. She hit me, shoved me down a flight of stairs and nearly knocked me out. Every day.

    I was raised with two brothers that were jocks. One told me that if I let her get away with it again, he would beat me worse then she did. So the next day at recess she asked me where I wanted to be hit? I could see my brother watching from across the school yard. So this time after a whole year of this, I ran forward and head butted her down. Then I sat on top of her and beat her up. That was the end of that daily ritual.

    As for this child, when you consider the atmosphere that is a part of our society you can understand it. We have violence, we have constant hateful speech by talk hosts on radio and television. It permeates our culture. The parents of bullies may not know they are bullying anyone. But most likely they do. Have you ever as a parent gone to another parent and told them they had a bully for a child? I have. And they parent most often does not believe you. And they get nasty. And the next day it is worse for the kid whose parent were talked to.

    If the school and the parents do not do anything, and often they don't you can go to the board of education and then onto the juvenile authorities at the local police station.

    This sensitive child must have been horribly afraid and ashamed of being afraid. And the other kids might have encouraged it like sharks circling. As it was in my case. It can make your school years terrible. And you end up with a daily stomach ache and headaches. You dread school so badly sometimes you skip. And every night you go to bed dreading the next day. And the only day you can relax is Saturday. Because Sunday you start to dread all over again. I am an expert.

    If this kids school does not have an assembly and if they do not speak to all the students and begin to get tough, it will happen again. Kids often have no conscience. Bullying is very serious. And there should be one warning then expulsion. NO excuses. This child's life is over. He is dead because of the schools neglect and nothing can excuse that.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  28. David P - San Francisco

    Why are US childhood suicide rates so much higher than other countries? Exact apples-to-apples comparisons not easy because of slight variance in monitored age brackets but, for example, US youth kill themselves more than four times as frequently as English youth.
    Three things come to mind: one, the US "high school" experience seems to be just expected to be miserable (why??) ; secondly, US kids are the most over-drugged of all of them, and third, the country is awash with very effective suicide tools, thanks NRA. I would postulate these three factors play more than minor roles.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  29. mesukie

    As heartbreaking as the stories of children who end their own lives in despair because of bullying are, they are limited in number and don't reveal the full scope of the tragedy. For every child who commits suicide, a hundred or more others simply give up on school and withdraw into themselves, and others lash out in violence against others. Parents don't want to admit their children are part of the problem, or they are bullies themselves (including the sports parents who think that their kids deserve special treatment because they are gifted athletes). Too many administrators are overwhelmed and have given up trying to make a difference. Too many teachers are emotionally stunted individuals who are trying to make up for their own poor high school experience by being popular with the 'cool' kids and actully contribute to the problem. ([Yes, I also know about all of the the wonderful, dedicated teachers out there – don't attack me for observing that they are not all saints. These are the same sick teachers sleeping with their students).
    My own son took the withdrawal route, going from straight A's to failure as he was mercilessly bullied in small private school. We finally pulled him out with no notice when he was pushed down a flight of stairs and the administration refused to do anything, even though they acknowledged the bullying. Although we saved him physically, the psychological damage was done. He never really recovered his love of learning and hated school from that time on and eventually dropped out. The sad thing is, we had placed him and his sisters in the private school because we were concerned about the bullying in our local high school. In that, we made the right decision. A few weeks later, two boys at that school killed thirteen of their schoolmates before ending their own lives. In the aftermath, amidst all the allegations of bullying, parents, teachers and administrators all denied that any such thing had ever taken place.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  30. PL

    Thanks Anderson and Randi for reporting on this subject and the readers who share their own experience. Parents of the bullys and the bullied, teachers, and school administrators should never take this issue lightly. Havent we learned anything from the school shootings, suicides, and tragic events?
    It makes me cringe when people say "boys will be boys, they will grow out of the phase", or just put the emphasis on telling the victims to learn to defend themselves. The aggressors get away with it by these excuses, even from school administrators and teachers.
    Boys and girls who inflct pain on others need to be held accountable for their bad behaviors.
    Bullys are little thugs who will grow up to be big thugs if they are not taught that their behaviors are not acceptable.
    Bullys feed their self esteem by stepping on others who are weaker or helpless.
    PTA, can you do something?
    Hope the report will bring a positive message.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  31. Keith Amparado

    I'm male, black, and gay with a Spanish surname. I don't have a visible handicap, but suffice to say I have enough to be a prime victim for any bully or ignoramus who is looking for trouble. We all know hate and violence have no place in our society, yet we tolerate it and often support it with our silence. Our society resists education and too many people fear the religious rhetoric used to makes us doubt our common sense.

    How many people would want this to happen to their child? But how many, when they learn their child has been bullying another, take that child to task and work to correct the behavior? Most of the time it doesn't happen at home, in school, in the workplace, or in the larger society. And only when there is a tragedy do some chose to come together and attempt to do something about it. I often wonder how we, as Americans, can identify others as being uncivilized when we haven't truthfully examined our own situations.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  32. Marilyn

    My heart goes out to that poor mother. I can relate to how that young man must have felt. I myself was subjected to teasing,bulling and I was also tormented throughout school. I still now hold grudges against a few of the people that made my life miserable. Teanagers dont realize how mean they actually are being. I even find myself feeling glad that one of the boys that tormented me is now dead. I guess I never got over meaness that I was subjected to. Each parent should sit their children down and have a talk with them and make sure they are not being tormented by someone or make sure they arent subjecting someone to this kind of misstreatment. I know in my heart that bulling in school has affected me mentally and physically.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  33. bwalker

    I can understand an issue bing brought up about bullying and I think it is wrong. However for someone to commit take their own life requires there to be some mental illness that could have been prevented. What did the mother do to help her son develop a strong selfesteem? What did he do to attract the bullying? I think there are other issues that are in play and it is impossible to lay the blame on anyone else.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  34. Dee in Virginia

    I recently witnessed a young man bullying another young man outside of a bowling alley one evening while I was waiting for my husband. I was in my vehicle. I could see in my rearview how the 'bully' began taunting the young man and eventually led to the 'bully' choking the young man. I got out of my vehicle and began yelling for the 'bully' to let go of the young man. The young man was crying. As the 'bully' continued to choke the young man he was telling me to 'mind your own business' and 'go inside'. The 'bully' eventually started making verbal threats such as "I am going to slash your tires" and "I have your license plate number and I am going to find out where you live". After a few minutes, the 'bully' finally released the young man. I asked the young man if he was okay and if he wanted me to take him to his parents. We went inside and located his grandfather. This is a story of good intentions gone bad... I found the grandfather, my husband found the 'bully' and called the police. The police arrived and apparently 'bullying' is allowed in Virginia because the police did not take the 'bully' to juvenile detention. The 'bully' lied to the police and said my husband (and his friend) 'touched" him and the police allowed the 'bully' to file a complaint against my husband and his friend. So, my husband and his friend had charges brought against them for assault and battery. They turned themselves in (meaning arrested), released, and we went to court last week. The judge dropped the charges because the 'bully's' story was inconsistent and stated their was not enough evidence to prove criminal intent. The judge called me to the bench and told me that she would have done the same thing and there are not enough people 'getting involved'. Now, I see why – there is a risk and a price for 'getting involved'. I feel very strongly that federal legislation needs to be passed requiring schools to educate children (starting in kindergarten) about the harmful effects of bullying. The education should take place in the home but, unfortunately, we have parents who are bullies and encourage their children to bully. Also, I feel their should be an arrest code for bullying so when someone in my situation witnesses bullying outside of school it gets the attention it so deserves.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  35. Frizzle

    My son was bulliled, OMG was he bullied, even a dunce cap put on him by a teacher. He is only 21 years old so this was not centuries ago. I have worked w/schools and it is 8 out of 10 times started by the teachers at an early age. The kids have no idea but a teacher always singling out a child, constant downing them, the students follow suit. I remember even my son being blamed for an incident, two teachers saw him do it and he was not even in school that day. Was he punished–oh yes by the school.

    Yes the school is partially responsble for doing nothing. You see most of the bullies are their star athletes, we can't loose a game now can we??? If you want to be popular, that status ladder we teach our kids, you have to play the game. The teachers/staff turn their backs.

    So it follows them clear through school and yes ruins their lives.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  36. Beck

    Frankly, the problem is the PARENTS, NOT the kids! Parents these days refuse to be parents and take responsibility for teaching their children proper behaviour. Ask any teacher or principal at any school. Many parents put off their responsibilities to the schools, but at the same time make it impossible for the school to properly discipline the kids. Many parents refuse to show a proper example to their children. If the parents would do what parents should do, this problem would be minimal. We have all created this situation – the parents that refuse to be parents.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  37. Jerome

    I have to agree that the teasing and bullying is instigated by persons who are to oversee our children’s social and educational growth. Southern California has its ghettos for a reason, and the solutions will be crushed.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  38. Afia

    My nephew goes to the same school as Carl walker hoover and they were very close. My nephew also gets teased. His mother always calls the school complaining but yet it seems like nothing is being done. There is always an answering machine that picks up and messages are hardly returned. This is sickening, the mother NEEDS to sue.. Just today somebody tripped my nephew in the lunchroom and he fell and everybody was laughing at him. They say my nephew is gay, and they just dont stop taunting him... THIS HAS TO STOPPPP!!! REST IN PEACE CARL

    April 14, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
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