Fort Worth council member takes bullying fight to Austin

Print
Email
|

by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on December 13, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 13 at 7:29 PM

FORT WORTH - A new poll released by Equality Texas says 80 percent of voters want laws to protect all kids from bullying.

Fort Worth City Council member Joel Burns recently spoke out about the issue and has been bombarded with similar concerns from parents ever since. Monday, he took his fight to Austin.

"It is a problem we cannot afford to ignore another day," he said.

Burns said he was bullied for being gay while growing up in Crowley, Texas. That experience is behind his push for legislation to put respect back in schools.

The council member said it's up to the adults, not kids, to make changes. He wants more resources for administrators to do something about the problem.

"As I stand here today, there are Texas children who believe their only escape from bullying is to put a gun to their head and pull the trigger," he said.

Joy Pierce, of Frisco, has had those suicidal thoughts. She moved out of Stafford Middle School because of bullying.

"I want to die and I can't put up with this school anymore," she said.

Her parents said they warned the district many times, but nothing ever changed.

"I try to tell the counselors and they say, 'We'll talk to them,'" she said. "And then, the next day, it's not any better."

Pierce got away from her bad situation. But, 13-year-old Asher Brown did not. The Texas child killed himself, as did 18-year old Tyler Clemente. The freshman from Rutgers University recently jumped from the George Washington Bridge

Burns said there are thousands more struggling. In two months, he has received 32,000 e-mails and 1,000 heartbreaking voicemails about bullying.

"The time to stop the needless loss of life and loss of hope and become champion for our children starts now," he said. "No child needs to feel like they are without worth."

Former First Lady Laura Bush is also pushing for legislation. She too issued a statement saying the time to act is now.

Print
Email
|