2009: A Massachusetts boy, Carl 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.
He was a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay. Carl felt there was no way out from the bullying, and he killed himself. And that’s the point–anti-bullying laws are not only about sexual orientation–even perceived orientation can trigger the bullying. But his mother has turned an unspeakable family horror into concrete, positive actions to keep Carl’s memory alive this past Saturday (9/17), as hundreds gathered for the second annual Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover Foundation’s 5K Road Race at Springfield’s Forest Park on Saturday morning.
The well-attended run/2K walk was virtually overrun by production staff and talent for the popular show and became well orchestrated as the likes of host Ty Pennington and Boston Celtic Ray Allen milled around a hyped-up crowd.
Walker held back tears as she crossed the finish line with her children: Dominique, 19; Charles, 8; and Gloria, 7. Carl would have been 14.
“The past two years have been really difficult. Part of it is … when I go around and speak, I have to share Carl’s story and so I have to relive the most horrible day of my life over and over,” Walker said.
But people like bigoted GOP 2012 Clown Car occupant Michele Bachmann have a fixation on anti-bullying laws because any enumeration that includes sexual orientation and gender identity and expression is a moral problem for them.
At a rally in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Friday, Minnesota resident Alex Lemon asked Bachmann what she intends to do about the rash of anti-gay school bullying in her district, according to CBS News.
Bachmann reportedly offered a brief response: “That’s not a federal issue.” The GOP presidential hopeful moved on to shake hands with the next rally attendee.
A U.S. House member who represents Minnesota in Congress, Bachmann has become associated with the issue of anti-gay bullying because of the rash of teen suicides in her congressional district. Over the past two years, nine youths have committed suicide in the Anoka-Hennepin school district, the largest in Minnesota. At least four suicide victims were victims of bullying because they were gay or perceived to be gay.
Not only does this pull back the veil on her faux compassionate conservatism, it shows a level of ignorance about the problem that is astonishing. (Heaven help all those foster kids she raised).
Fred Sainz, vice president of communications at the Human Rights Campaign, said Bachmann’s remarks at the rally demonstrate “her ignorance and why she’s not worthy of the presidency.”
“Two bills to make schools safer for all kids are pending before Congress and in just a few days, the White House will host a second summit on the issue,” Sainz said. “It most certainly is a federal issue.”
Does Bachmann not see nor care about the body count in front of her? There are bills before Congress now to address this epidemic: the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to require schools and districts receiving federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The SSIA would also require that states report data on bullying and harassment to the Department of Education. Additionally, the SSIA would require the Department of Education to provide Congress with a report on the state reported data, along with other specified data, every two years.
So what part of that is objectionable to Bachmann?