April 17th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 04/17/09

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on 360°, bullied to death. A child taunted at school takes his own life. Who's to blame?

And could the school have stopped the teasing? Carl Joseph Walker Hoover’s mom says kids taunted him saying "you act gay" and "you look gay." Today thousands of students across America participated in a Day of Silence to draw attention to anti-gay harassment in schools. We’ll have all the angles.

And, don't miss Erica Hill's webcast on bullying and tonight's other headlines during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

Want to know what else we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

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And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM

Filed under: Live Blog
soundoff (483 Responses)
  1. Emma

    She has a beautiful voice. I loved her response to the question of whether she will change her appearance.......what a charming woman!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  2. Samantha M.

    re: Susan Boyle
    they should just take her out of BGT. simon can produce susan on the side but i think its unfair for the other contestants at this point. contestants can only enter the competition 2 times before they can no longer enter. some of the other contestants are amazing as well.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  3. Michelle

    Susan seems to have come out of her shell.
    Good for her.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  4. Fatima

    This habit that students have using "gay" to denigrate each other has to be addressed as it happens within schools. I address this act at least 10 times a day. My students get tired of my reminder but it tells them that bullying of any type is unacceptable.
    More parents and teachers need to insure they create safe space for youth. No words that denigrate or hurt is acceptable in a learning or living environment. I will use the webcast of this incident to talk with my students upon returning after vacation.
    My children and I have talked about this incident.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  5. Renee

    Susan was on LK tonight. So honest and wholesome. Piers Morgan invited her to dinner in London. She was gitty.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  6. Isabel (Brazil)

    She seems another person! More happy and vain. This is good! 🙂

    April 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  7. Cherry B - Ms

    Susan is just incredible! Love to see her new found self confidence about herself. Great lessons here. Such a lovely woman! Bet she gets kissed soon!!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  8. Rebekah

    I absolutely love Susan! she's so sweet. i'm so happy a woman like this is getting recognition like this.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  9. Suman Jha

    Elementary school should not tolerate bullying of any kind. Let alone making comments of adulthood stage. Let children have a decent childhood. Adults are responsible to provide this environment.

    I am happy to see CNN has taken this matter seriously.

    Thank You.
    Suman Jha

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  10. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    I have heard of stories pregancy like that before now. They say that the baby was carried in a different place of the normal.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  11. Deanne

    As a middle school teacher, I have informed administrators (on several occasions) of bullying that is taking place among students, and nothing is done about this. Driven by the No Child Left Behind Act, administrators are less concerned with the development and nurturing of the whole child, and more concerned with the development of standardized test scores. Students are often told that the situation will be handled, and instructed to return to class without investigating the issue. On 2 occasions, 2 different students have brought weapons to school in an attempt to defend themselves against bullies. Even sadder is the bullying and sexual harassment that is taking place involving the female students, who identify themselves as homosexuals, and bully other female students into identifying themselves as such, forcing them to perform sexual acts.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  12. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    Just amazing the susan boyle story. World famous within 5 days not to mention such a beautiful voice.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  13. Barbara Mitchell

    As an educator whose school has both anti-bullying and building self-esteem programs in place, that has a no tolerance position on bullying, teachers who even used the student bathrooms to help monitor those areas, I have to question why your focus is so much on what the schools should be doing. Bullies are sly, they wait till the playground monitor is in another area to taunt a child, they do it before or after school, off school grounds or whisper it when the teacher is leading the class down the hall. Bullied students often refuse to name names for fear of retribution outside of school. Schools cannot and should not be replacements for good parenting.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  14. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    @Jo Ann…”I don’t think eleven year olds know if they are gay or not…”

    And that is the irony of these types of tragedies. It has become, and remains, socially acceptable to taunt and verbally abuse people using presumed homosexuality as the most effective weapon. And the fire iis being fueled by some religions.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  15. Gerry Madigan

    What a tragedy to see the life of a young boy cut short due to the disgusting behavior of his peers, and more importantly, due to the total lack of action of his educators. The school should delete the term 'Leadership' from its title – this is clear case of irresponsible behavior on the part of the school principal and staff, which manifests a distinct lack of real leadership. The interview with the chairman of the board was pathetic. Although this dear young boy took his own life, the school authorities and the children who particpated (whether actively or passively) in his ridicule should bear the guilt and responsibility for his death. Let's be candid – they were all accessories in the murder of this boy.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  16. Karen

    I do not see why the memos need published. Obama is making us look week as a nation, we have nothing to be sorry for. God Bless the USA!!!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  17. Diana

    I ended up pulling my child out of a school where she was being
    bullied by students. I had gone to the teachers many times and
    they could not get it to stop. My plan worked great and my child
    thrived in the new school. Teachers need to "get smart" and
    ask students to anonymously write down the names of children
    who are doing this to other children and then keep the entire
    class after school for the lecture about why we should not do
    this until it stops.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  18. Isabel (Brazil)

    what a voice!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  19. Kate

    Just watching Carl's mother tonight. I'm so sad for the loss of her child. But your other guest just completely blew me away. He is blaming the CHURCH for children bullying each other at school. WHAT?? Where is the responsibility for parents teaching their children how to behave as civilized human beings? It would be great if the church had more influence over our behavior. If it did, there would be more love for our neighbors, less violence, less abuse, less crime. But this guest is implying that the church is teaching intolerance, hate, discrimination, and violence. I don't know which church he attends (if he attends at all), but that's not the church I attend. Granted, every group has their extremists who give a bad name to their organization (the church included), but to imply the church is the leader in teaching our children to be hateful to each other is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  20. Beth Vogl

    Two of your stories tonight struck me – call me a pollyanna if you want, but torture is always wrong -even if it results in "good Info" and bullying about anything is always wrong – for that school administrator to say that he believes they followed policy is just as sick as torturing anyone because someone twisted the boundaries to give you "permission" – we can't stop the decline of our very civilization if we don't hold to some uncrossable line - I'm not especially religious ( a lapsed Catholic, actually) but it takes all of us to say no to this..... I don't want to be safe in a world if we have to torture to achieve it, and I will always speak out if any bullying happens where I can see it.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  21. Drew

    Anderson,the type of bullying that you are talking about(calling names and talking about other children negatively) can't be stopped. Children are cruel and usually are just honestly having fun. The word "gay" dosent just mean homosexual any more. The only way that little boy could have avoided being taunted is to have been home schooled. Trust me. As a child I was taunted and I taunted other children but for the most part it was just out of fun. We felt like if you couldn't take it, too bad. It is a real shame that the little boy found it so hard to cope with that he had to kill himself. This may seem cruel but I'm willing to bet that if he would have said something back to the children, he would have got some laughs and felt better about himself. Again his suicide is tragic.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  22. Gary, San Francisco, CA

    Hi Anderson!
    The death of Carl Walker shows that homophobic epithets are on par with racial and appearance put-downs. This country's problem with homophobia has to be dealt with from the source- teaching our children that everyone is unique and has different personalities that make his or her self distinguishable and picking on someone who is a little "different" is unacceptable.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  23. Maureen T, Canada

    I truly wish we would tolerate one another! Tolerence is gone in society.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  24. carolyn cee yah

    erica on your last dish effort to get votes for twitter, i voted
    for cnn wears my tshirt? tried to help u anderson because
    i was going to go with ashton until you looked so worried.
    only because cnn would have to double the bet.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  25. Lynn

    The country needs to recognize all the rights of all gay people and recognize that if you believe that God created men and women he created all of us.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  26. Keith, Fl

    As a gay male I went through this in school. This was during the 70's and had no idea what the kids were talking about. My parents did not teach hate at home.....Children act out on what they are taught at home.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  27. LisaL - Canada

    oh i don't even know what to say about that baby story. somehow, i think there is really not much more to be said. surprise? guess so.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  28. Cherry B - Ms

    Stayed on Twitter last night keeping up with race. Watched Ashton's live Ustream as he won. Really wanted Cnn to get it, but AK is a good guy and is really raising awareness for the malaria cause. Was great fun to follow the race

    April 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  29. Esma

    The only reason I'm fine with Ashton winning is b/c it's for charity...otherwise, it would be on like Donkey Kong.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  30. Gina - Missouri

    I am glad the twitter war between ashton and cnn brought more attention to MalariaNoMore it is a really great cause...

    April 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  31. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    @ David Gergen

    Thanks for the info! Good Job!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  32. Lori from IL

    Okay - still not buying the 911 call - "My wife thinks she's in labor." Come on, if she's already had a baby, labor is not something one forgets!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  33. Jasmine-Spokane, WA

    At our school we have a COPs Shop. We patrol the bathrooms all the time.....

    April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  34. Andrew

    re: bullying.
    Lets start holding the parents responsible.
    Parents need to control their children.
    If you look back at school shootings in the past (Columbine / Va Tech), the shooter was bullied in almost every case for being gay.
    Prosecute the parents. Make them criminally and civilly responsible.
    Parents train their children to treat others this way, and it's SICK!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  35. Jacqueline, NY

    It is sad, Anderson. But the mom is right. Learning begins at home.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  36. Yvonne, Phoenix, AZ

    As a professional who has dealt with the issue of bullying, parents must know they are responsible for hepling their children become citizens who value others differences. Bullying is an issue parents and schools must address. This school IS responsible for Carl's death and his mother hit the problem front and center. The climate of any school is set by the administration.

    As a society ,adults need to get back to teaching their children there is a right and wrong. There is no gray area. This country is suffering from a total breakdown of the family and is in denial!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  37. Cessy, Chicago

    $45 million donation.... sssssshhhhhhh.....it's all for a good cause.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  38. Katherine Cox

    As a high school principal in Arizona, I know that the best way to stop harrassment is to have zero tolerance for any kind of harrassment. When parents or students report harrasment, adminstrators must investigate and then put a stop to it. Students who harrass must be suspended or expelled. When a clear message is sent, harrassment diminishes quickly. The drama around this 11 year old boy tells me that this situation was allowed to continue and that no one in charge took it seriously. Perhaps this school has the philosophy akin to "boys will be boys," which implies that students of this age act this way and nothing can be done. Not true. I speak from experience. This is a real American tragedy.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  39. Maren in Oregon

    It is vw\ery sad Anderson; doubly sad

    April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  40. Virgil Pearson

    The bullying thing has been out of control for years. The responsibilty is with the parents of every child. What are we teaching them about the value of all human beings? Anything? Most parents who have bullies for kids know it!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  41. Mary Bradley

    I just watched the interview of the mother of the 11 year old who killed himself after being bullied. What an honest, courageous, loving woman. I work in an inter-city school in Los Angeles. It is NOT SAFE. Bureaucracy is the enemy. It takes 25 years for anything to change. We don't have the time. Shame on the school administration for letting this happen.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  42. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    my heart goes to him....... I feel his pain for ex-wife.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  43. Bonnie

    I'm glad the new mom had quit smoking!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  44. Lori from IL

    I agree with Mel — about Chrisitans needing to be accepting of all — According to the Bible I’ve studied, God created us and Jesus taught us to love all.

    Apparently some choose to leave out of their Bible knowledge the verse that says “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” and The Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    April 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  45. Samantha M.

    lots of crazy 911 calls. those dispatchers do not get enough credit for the work they do.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  46. Mildred Miller

    The parents of the kids doing the taunting are at fault for not teaching their children respect for others. In the 1950's the same thing happened in my school days. I am now 71.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  47. Ann

    Words can and do hurt. I think that's something that people have forgotten. Ms. Walker did the right things. The school needed and needs to do more.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  48. Genevieve M, TX

    How does a woman not know she is pregnant? Unbelievable!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  49. Brian in Chicago

    Randi, the answer to your question, "...why did this happen", that your school official would NOT answer is easy. And most will not want to admit as he. The reason is because of Christian movement; Evangelicals and their horrible demonic attitudes towards gays. PLAIN and SIMPLE. I'm sick and tired of all the excuses and putting down of human beings just because of sexual orientation!!!! WHEN is this country gonna wake up and treat other humans with compassion and respect with equal rights as their God would want it? Ironically, these so called Christians are the most arrogant, self-righteous, and prejudiced of ALL!
    This little boy's sad story will happen again and again and again.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  50. tonis

    Bullying must be stoped!!...that is why there are people that become so mad, so desperate and turn into mass murderers!!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
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