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One Year After the Death of Carl Walker Hoover

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A year ago Tuesday, 11-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover took his own life after being incessantly harassed with antigay slurs.

To commemorate his life, his mother, Sirdeaner Walker, has partnered with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network to launch a petition drive calling on Congress to act on the Safe Schools Improvement Act. The legislation, which has 101 bipartisan cosponsors, would ensure that schools have comprehensive antibullying policies and that states maintain data on school harassment.

"This issue of school safety is vital to all young students," she wrote in an open letter to Congress members. "The consequences of bullying are very real, and in cases like my son's, they are often life threatening. By supporting the Safe Schools Improvement Act, you will give a voice to students like Carl who face harassment and suffer needlessly at the hands of bullies. You will also support a brighter, safer and more productive school environment for our future generations."

Walker-Hoover was harassed by classmates who called him antigay names, even though he did not identify as gay. Despite numerous complaints to administrators and teachers, his mother says little was done to curb the bullying.

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