SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — He’s become a symbol in the nationwide campaign against bullying and now a flag in his name flies above City Hall.
Eleven-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Springfield committed suicide after being regularly bullied. Gwynnetta Sneed started a foundation in his name to raise awareness about bullying. The flag was her idea.
“I want people to think about the kids who are here, that are bullied everyday and the need for it to stop,” said Sneed. “Children shouldn’t go to school in fear. School should be a safe haven.”
Springfield School Superintendent Alan Ingram said there has been more training since Carl’s death about how to stop and prevent bullying.
“I want to make sure that our teachers and administrators are sensitive to the issue and that we’re responsible whenever there are cries from children about concerns or requests for help,” said Ingram.
Ingram said the number of reported bullying cases in Springfield schools is declining.
Carl’s family wasn’t at the ceremony. They’ve been chosen for the ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Their new home is being built this week and they have been sent on a vacation during this time.
They’ll be back this Saturday. Along with the Extreme Makeover designers, they will take part in a walk at Forest Park to benefit the Carl Joseph Walker Foundation. For more information, go to facebook.Com/carljoseph11.