Today the Boston Globe published an editorial titled Bullied To Death in which the paper decries anti-gay bullying and points out how much worse the situation can be for children in the inner-cities.
Relentless bullying, including anti-gay slurs, by students at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield pushed sixth-grader Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover to take his own life, according to his mother. The quality of interventions by school officials is unclear. But an act so desperate by one so young is a clear reminder of how schools can become torture chambers for students perceived as different.
Massachusetts led the nation in 1993 by crafting an anti-discrimination law for gay and lesbian students. But the law is only as effective as the educators who implement it. And the stakes can be higher in poor, urban districts like Springfield, where nonconformity too often draws aggressive attention. Teachers or administrators who ignore even a single degrading comment in that environment can open the door to a world of pain.
Gay blogger Rod McCullom: “Bullying is much more intense in poor, urban school districts because this is where children (and their “parents”) are taught to glorify “thug” culture. So it becomes unfortunately all-too-common in the black community to taunt and harass boys and young men who do not act like thugs. How many more children have to be bullied to death until we learn this wrong?”