Middle School Boy Suicide from Effects of Bullying

One of my good college friends sent me an article out of New York. A young 11-year-old boy named Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover hung himself after dealing with daily bullying at school. Below is a picture of Carl.

Carl Josef Walker-Hoover

Carl Josef Walker-Hoover

The thing so shocking to me is, to look at his picture, there is no indication that he could be bullied, right? He’s a football player and looks like he could take care of himself. Well, that was wrong! The article from the GLSEN site goes on to say:

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year.

“Our hearts go out to Carl’s mother, Sirdeaner L. Walker, and other members of Carl’s family, as well as to the community suffering from this loss,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “As we mourn yet another tragedy involving bullying at school, we must heed Ms. Walker’s urgent call for real, systemic, effective responses to the endemic problem of bullying and harassment. Especially in this time of societal crisis, adults in schools must be alert to the heightened pressure children face, and take action to create safe learning environments for the students in their care. In order to do that effectively, as this case so tragically illustrates, schools must deal head-on with anti-gay language and behavior.”

Yes, schools must deal with this and more. My son is 11-years-old and I really can’t imagine what could lead him to even consider suicide. But, that said, he has a friend right now who is dealing with bullying and, in talking with the mom of the friend, they are dealing with similar emotional issues. So much goes unreported in bullying that looking fot the signs of it must become a full-time job of educators and parents.

His mother spoke out in a local news report in the hopes to prevent this from happening again:

Another interesting development is that the friend who sent this to me also admitted to me for the first time that bullying had a profound effect on him and the choices he made and still makes in his life and now in his son’s education and environment.  I’ve known him for 18 years and didn’t even know he has had to deal with the effects until just now. He is someone I respect very much and always see as a confident and strong leader. I will be talking with him more over the next few months and hopefully he will write on this blog. I’m sure he has lots to say about this issue as well and I look forward to his input. I am interested in yours as well. Please add comments and your stories to this blog. I believe it can help others who are dealing with these issues.

67 thoughts on “Middle School Boy Suicide from Effects of Bullying

  1. Thank you for giving your time to help keep this issue “visible on the radar” of our society. I experienced this kind of bullying when I was a bit older than this boy — many years ago. Not only is this a pervasive problem, it is an OLD problem. To me, this proves that the only solution is to rethink our educational infrastructure from the ground on up. We have this very weird idea that the way to “rehabilitate” criminals is to lock them up tightly in prisons so that they are shoulder-to-shoulder with other criminals in a totally contrived us-versus-them closed culture. It is the single STUPIDEST idea that we continue to prop-up in our society. Large schools are based on the same inane conceptual thinking: stuffing huge groups of children who are immature and uneducated into close quarters and expecting them to magically emerge as mature and educated adults is just plain wishful thinking. Teaching should be the most joyous, rewarding, and desirable of all professions; instead, it is frustrating, stressful, and depressing. We do it ALL wrong, but don’t seem to be able to properly interpret and respond to generation after generation of failure and negative feedback. I admit I don’t have an answer — but I know when a system isn’t working and and that it’s time to start over again from scratch.

  2. I am a victim of this and my heart goes out to all who have had to go through this, i cant believe how bad kids/teens are these day, i have to put up with this everyday and have had to since third grade

  3. Amazing that this would go through an 11 year old boy’s mind! I’m 11 and never even thought about suicide let alone someone else doing it! I can’t belive that Carl would think to do that! Poor, poor, poor Walker family. =(

  4. I’m so sorry for you loss. i can never imagine having to go through something this tragic.when my grandfather passed away i was very upset about this but i feel you have lost much more.my heart goes out to this family in their time of need. ❤ 😦

  5. I have been bullied before and know what it is like but I have nevr thought of suicide.I cant imaging what the Walker family went thru….I am sorry for everything thay had to face.


  6. y in the world would a person call him gay?? he’s a very cute boy. he probably had the dream to become a football player. those ppl who bullied him should be punished severely. the school should had done something wit the bullies.

  7. i cant stand to hear that its so sad for someone to call him gay. im sorry for your loss and those kids are real **** heads the shouldnt call anyone that. once again sorry for your loss

  8. it gonna be ok we were talking about
    bullying in class and on of my friends brought this story in it made r whole class wanna make a difference hope u feel n

  9. it was so bad for them kids to do that to carl! i was in his place to wear i did not wanna be in the office saying what was happening to me!!! they needa stop this is schools because it is ridiclous these days!!! i am in the 7th grade and i have pleanty of years to go through the halls of people that say iam ur friend please trust me and the next minute your being made fun of!!! you can not have real friends these days… your family is in my prayers and so are others that had this happen to them and for those whom are going through this the kids that were calling him gay are gay they took the life of this sweet child and i hope they go through guilt all thier lives and wonder why i done this to this boy?? well they will regret this. they dont this for their laughs and popularity!!! they are wrong!!! thanks you and god bless

  10. y in the world would someone call him gay he look like a good boy P.S so sorry for you loss (keep your chin up) xxxxxx

  11. Its Horrible! I Dont Get How People Can Just Do This Stuff To Otherr People. I Mean I Know I Have Done it, becuse everybody has sometime in their life. But don’t people think what bulllying could do to these people? What These People Feel, And What They Might Do To Avoid These Insults, And humiliations? Whyy Dont We, the people, Take A Stand?! What Are We Gonna Do With Our Lives? What Are YOU Gonna Do With Your Life? Why Not Make A Difference. You’ll Feel Wonderrful Knowing You’re Helping A Person. You Could Of Even Just Saved A Life. Try It. It’s Not Wrong.

  12. I am now 40 but was severely bullied as a child. I had very bad acne and the kids in my class (parochial school) teased me relentlessly for 2 years. The teachers heard it and did nothing. I don’t think my parents were told and I never shared it with them. I mostly ignored and concentrated on academics, but it but it hurt tremendously. I prayed each night that it would stop and cried myself to sleep. I considered suicide, but fortunately, my Catholic upbringing had me fearful that my soul would rot in hell for eternity. Eventually my skin cleared up but the scars ran deep. It wrecked havoc on my self esteem for many years despite how pretty I turned out to be. I am still very self concious about my appearance. A few years ago, I ran into one of my tormentors in a bar. For years I planned what I would say to him, but when I encountered him he was quite friendly and seemed to have forgotten his deeds. He was fat, ugly, and had a crappy job while I was the total opposite. I felt sorry for him, so I decided to be kind instead and took the high road. I was grateful I was strong enough to win the war. Sadly,bullying can affect you for the rest of your life. It cannot be tolerated. IF cyber bullying had been around then, I am not sure I would have survived.

  13. no one may have seen this coming but many hope and pray for your family in your time of need. even tho many do not know exactly what it is u are feeling. rest in peace carl may jesus cradle you once again.

  14. I’m sorry to hear this. Carl looks like a very sweet boy and 100% not gay. My heart goes out to the family.:(

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  16. I am so sorry for the lose of this precious boy. I understand my 11 year old took his life on May 13,2010. He was being bullied at school also. We live in a rual town in Oklahoma. I went to the school and all I was told is boys will be boys. This is not right and we are doing everything we can to get the laws changed. All I can do now is try to help another child who feels like this is there only option.
    We have to put a stop to this we can not keep losing our babies.
    My thoughts and prayers are with this family.

    Momma of Ty Field-Smalley

    • To the MOM of TY Field-Smalley,

      I want to let you know that you and your family our in our thoughts and prayers. I heard Ty’s father on the radio broadcast and was heartbroken. I sit here and I don’t know what to say except that he is in a better place and will be used as an angel to help other children in the same situation. I have 2 kids ages 8 and 3 and they mean everything to me and I am sure your precious boy meant the same to you. For that I am so sorry for the sorrow.

    • Though yours never had it bad its not like the totured him physicly.Its happened to me and im still living through god.

  17. I am 48 years old and I was also bullied as a child until I got tired of it and faught back. The sad thing is 9 times out of 10 , the teachers and principal are warned over and over that this is going on and they turn the other way. Why ? Because of who is doing the bullying. If it’s a kid who is not popular who is bullying , they get reprimanded. If it’s someone who everyone likes, well it’s over looked. The kid who bullied me was a basketball player. I finally had to slap her good. I was bullied as a parent of 3 children. One of my daughters was being mistreated by a teacher all because my girl was smart and the teacher felt she had to belittle her in front of everyone .I went to the school to confront this witch about it. She told me that I could just leave, and it was not going to change . I went to the principal and he informed me that I was stupid, didn’t have enough education. Now that’s also bullying. My girl survived that class although it was a miserable 4th grade year for her. The other teachers would come to me and tell me that they were angry that my girl was being treated like that but there was nothing they could do. My daughter survived and went on to graduate at the top of her class. I had to laugh. The first day of her 5th grade year, she had a male teacher who knew how she had been treated the previous year by that witch, and he made sure my girl was treated right. And the teacher, well she later on had health problems. Good ole Karma. I have another daughter who can be somewhat bratty. I spread the word around that when it came time for her to have the witch, I was going to turn her loose on that teacher and make her life a living hell. The teacher retired before my youngest got up there.
    Point of the story. There is something dreadfully wrong with the school system. No one should have to feel that the only way out is suicide. Someone should have listened to Carl’s mother. There will be a pay day folks. Why don’t some people see that it’s not cute to bully ? They must have been bullies themselves as children. This story is so sad because something could have been done.

  18. I’m doing my senior project on bullying. This story is terribly sad, I’ve had my trials with bullying in my younger days but not as bad as this situation. I mainly got bullied by guys because they liked me, It was very annoying but I never got to the suicide point. I would like to help all kids that are being bullied and reach out, I thought about teaching at the elementary schools when I finish high school. RIP Carl !

  19. i was bullied very horrible in the 7th grade by a group of boys when i fought back the older bully he knocked me out then he and his group of boys tried to jump me because they couldn’t punk me. Needless to say i have girls on is a mixed martial artes the other a boxer. my youngest is 14 when she was being bullies she told repeatedly nothing change then the fight happen the looks on there well whooped asses was priceless and i was there to see it funny thing is i tried to stop the ring leader but she got passed me they other four i stopped
    are kids have to be taught to fight back the schools will not protect them oh and my 14 yr old girl a and b student all the way

  20. OMFG i feel for carls family that is absoulutly horrible i cannot imagiane what the family went threw…… I am soo sorry for what you went threw Carls family!!

  21. I really can’t believe that people were being that mean to Carl.He looks like a really nice kid.I am so very sorry for what he and his family went through.But he shouldn’t have done that to himself.He missed out on alot.But it was not right of
    the other kids do such a thing to a poor kid.I will keep Carl and his family in my prayers. ❤

  22. I feel really bad for Carl and his family members. I hope those kids who bullied him ROT in HELL.I never thought kids my age would take this so far (I’m 12) because I thought kids would actually sit and think about what they do to people like Carl just because they’re a bit different. Even if he was gay why does that matter to you it’s not like he was trying to flirt. Personally I LOVE gay men cause they’re so funny and they understand u better than most guys so I really wouldn’t mind being friends with him wheather he’s gay or not.

  23. I’m so sorry for that his family has to live without their little boy Carl. And it really sucks that no one knows who the bullies actually were and hopefully they learned that BULLYING ISN’T RIGHT AT ALL…

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  25. I send out my best wishes to Carl’s family. I know what it is like to loose a loved one due to these events, it’s difficult more then words can explain. Having gone through this I am now basing my school Independent Research Project on bullying and the effects that it can have on the victim and their families. Hopefully with my research I will be able to show others what they can do to stop these things from happening. I am a victim of bullying myself, not so much physically being attacted by the offenders but more verbally abused and tourmented.I suffered through out the whole of primary school and half of my high schooling life, it wasnt fair that this was happening to me and I often asked myself the question “why?”. I never stood up for myself until one day I had just had enough… Maybe you could call this a turning point or you can call it whatever you like. All I know is that going through something like this has definetly made me a stronger person and now at the age of 17 I know what I want to do with my life and that is to become a phscologist so that I may help other children and youth get through their schooling life knowing that there are people out there willing to help.

    Once again my best wishes and condolances go out to Carl’s family(:


  27. believe me i have a witch who bullies little kids soo don’t feel alone i was also bullied for my height and weight and who i liked and i refuse to be treated that way i told and got tyhe respect i deserve.

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