By: Ray Hershel
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) (abc40) — Sirdeaner Walker of Springfield says the State Senate’s approval of an anti-bullying bill is a great first step in dealing with what she calls a national health crisis.
Her son Carl Joseph Walker Hoover took his own life last year after being bullied at school.
It’s been a painful year for Walker not only for her own personal tragedy but another one which brought back those nightmarish memories when South Hadley High School Freshman Phoebe Prince took her own life after being bullied, “It’s a feeling that I can’t describe to you, I’ve been on such an emotional roller coaster this whole year and my family has, and my friends have, and then to have this happen in South Hadley has just been devastating to me.”
Sirdeaner Walker has persevered and carried the torch for establishing anti-bullying legislation to Beacon Hill. But she won’t stop there saying she will continue to work for a federal law as well, “The Safe Schools Improvement Act would be a federal law and it would call for professional development and training for teachers, it would also call for defining what bullying is and also collecting data so we can bring resources into the school.”
But as the work of this tireless crusader continues, the memory of her son lives on in the legislation passed by the State Senate, “I definitely think this will be Carl’s legacy, it won’t be that he was bullied in school and as a result took his own life, but the fact he was a great young person with a lot of potential and he ended up helping a lot of children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
The bill passed by the State Senate must now be approved by the House of Representatives and then signed by the governor before it becomes law.