Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stop The Bullying

The following article was posted on OUTCOME. This story resonated with me because it’s my story too. I am one of the Carl Joseph Walker-Hoovers of the world.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” We learned this old saying when we were children and used it against loudmouths and bullies, but does it really hold true? Sadly, it does not. Words hurt more than physical violence ever could.

I don’t believe schools and parents are doing enough to prevent bullying. We need harsher penalties for those who continue to violate others.

Everyone matters. We need to celebrate our differences. Never judge what you don’t understand. Walk a mile in my shoes, and then tell me how you feel. Let’s celebrate diversity with understanding.

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, peace has finally come to you. You have not died in vain. You live on through others and me. Your story will help many. To Carl’s family, I am sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. – paerki

11-Year-Old Hangs Himself after Enduring Daily Anti-Gay Bullying

SPRINGFIELD, MA— An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hanged 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.

Carl, a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 on April 17, the same day hundreds of thousands of students will participate in the 13th annual National Day of Silence by taking some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) bullying and harassment at school. The other three known cases of suicide among middle-school students took place in Chatham, Evanston and Chicago, Ill., in the month of February.

"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," Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (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."

Two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive. The top reason was physical appearance.

"As was the case with Carl, you do not have to identify as gay to be attacked with anti-GLBT language," Byard said. "From their earliest years on the school playground, students learn to use anti-GLBT language as the ultimate weapon to degrade their peers. In many cases, schools and teachers either ignore the behavior or don´t know how to intervene."

Nearly 9 out of 10 GLBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSEN´s 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 GLBT students.

In most cases, the harassment is unreported. Nearly two-thirds of GLBT students (60.8%) who experience harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school. The most common reason given was that they didn´t believe anything would be done to address the situation. Of those who did report the incident, nearly a third (31.1%) said the school staff did nothing in response.

While GLBT youth face extreme victimization, bullying in general is also a widespread problem. More than a third of middle and high school students (37%) said that bullying, name-calling or harassment is a somewhat or very serious problem at their school, according to From Teasing to Torment. Bullying is even more severe in middle school. Two-thirds of middle school students (65%) reported being assaulted or harassed in the previous year and only 41% said they felt very safe at school.

Carl´s suicide comes about a year after eight-grader Lawrence King was shot and killed by a fellow student in a California classroom, allegedly because he was gay. - staff

What would life be like without memories? It’s fair to say, there would be no life at all. Memory is our communication, reason, coherence, our action and more importantly, our feeling. Memories create our path in life, developing our psychology and leading us emotionally.

One of the best ways to create and store memories is with video. These simple effortless little snippets of time create diaries and become perpetual time capsules, which justify our walk on earth, telling all with great enthusiasm… I was here! I mattered! I lived! Please, don’t forget me.

Share your views, thoughts and opinions in the written word. Snap photographs so that your eyes can travel back in time, remembering the happy and sad moments that made you the person you were, are and became in life. But, whenever possible, capture video to enhance the memories you leave behind, so that others may pass the essence of your life on to future generations.

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I love photographs! They have this amazing ability to tell stories of fun places, special moments, memorable events, and exciting places. They give us reason to pause and remember friends, family, coworkers and so many others. One photograph can conjure up a flood of memories taking us on a journey. They help us remember the past, enjoy the present and ponder the future.

On a cold and rainy day I love sitting in my living room with a roaring fire, a glass of wine, classical music playing in the background and my many photographs scattered about me. I love sifting through what I call my special collection, which refers to my favorites. They remind me of the saddest and happiest moments of my life. They remind me of challenges and overcoming.

My large collection of images are a testament to a life lived. Life happens all around us so it’s important to collect special memories, and what better way than with a photograph.

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There are many people in the world affected by disease. I never thought I would be one of the many. However, at any given time life can change. Mine did! There were many twists and turns, but I made it through and you can too. I am a Celiac on the move living life one meal at a time. Learn more about my life as a Celiac. Celiac Disease is a lifelong, digestive disorder affecting children and adults. In short, I have an allergy to gluten, and the treatment is a lifelong scrupulous avoidance of it.

No matter what, know this: You are never alone. There are people out there who’ve struggled, endured, made it through and are sharing their message of survival. No, they might not be at your side, but their spirit is out there in words, attempting to help others on their journey. Let’s all unite by sharing our individual stories, remedies for healthy living, food and recipes to keep us strong, and let’s find the laughter too because it can be some of the best medicine. Always remember, there is power in numbers. Check me out: A Celiac On The Move

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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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