Carl Hoover, age 11, of Boston is dead. Carl was found by his mother Sirdeanerhanging by an extension cord from the third floor landing in his family’s home on Northampton Avenue. Sirdeaner claims that her son committed suicide after another episode of bullying at his school. A local news station reported that Carl was being targeted by a specific group of children at the New Leadership Charter School where he was a 6th grader. In fear of being labeled a snitch, the boy refused to name his harassers. The school chalked it up to immaturity and Carl’s refusal to name his abusers, and did not further investigate the problem.
Surdeaner Hoover is a survivor of breast cancer, domestic violence, and even homelessness. She notes that this is nothing compared to what she is dealing with as a result of her son taking his own life. She is surrounded by family and friends, trying to make sense of losing her son.
Bullying has been a prevalent problem in most adolescence experiences. It has been attributed to many heinous acts of violence, including the massacres at Columbine High School in 1999, where shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Kleboldwent on a shooting spree initially targeting jocks and those who had bullied them. Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui also made mention of bullying and superiority by his peers in his taped manifesto sent to NBC News between his two murder sprees which claimed 33 victims on April 16, 2007.
Bullying is a problem that needs to be managed. The National Youth Prevention Resource Center notes that nearly 30 percent of youth in the U.S. are involved in incidences of bullying, either as a victim or an offender. A survey of students in 6th to 10th grade shows that 13 percent of students admit to having bullied other students, and an additional 11 percent say that they have been targets.
This problem is perpetuating because of the lack of response. Students need to feel as though they have a safehaven to be able to confide in school officials when they are having a problem. Likewise, school officials need to adequately respond to student concerns. In many schools across the U.S., such as Columbine High School, a subculture of athletics plays a leading role among the student body. As such, school administrators may turn a blind eye to bullying by “jocks”. In order to decrease bullying and make our schools a safer environment, it is imperative to level the playing field and treat all students as equals.