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Rampage Columns

BC Students Attend Candlelight Vigil

Apr 26, 2012

Teenagers committing suicide as a result of being bullied in school has become a leading headline in the news media. Most of these news stories haven’t hit home for some BC students until now.

On April 2, a candlelight vigil was held at the Princeton Senior High School football field to celebrate and remember the life of Dalton Walker.

Dalton Walker, a 12-year-old sixth-grader from Princeton, W.Va., died March 27, as a result of a self-inflicted injury.

Walker’s family believes that his death was related to bullying. Walker’s mother met with school officials at Princeton Middle School several times to discuss bullying.

The Mercer County Board of Education and parents organized a candlelight vigil in Walker’s honor.

Walker’s family members, friends, and strangers formed a circle across the soccer field, while holding candles in remembrance of Walker.

Among the many strangers were BC criminal justice majors Angel Hackney, Courtney Dutton, and Katie Lawson.

They had heard about Walker’s death in the local newspaper and once they heard about the candlelight event, they knew they had to attend.

Dutton didn’t know Walker, but she knew his grandmother and cousin.

“I wanted to go to support them and for the experience,” said Dutton.

For Dutton, a strong supporter of To Write Love on Her Arms, a nonprofit suicide prevention organization, the vigil was a meaningful event.

“It was unlike anything I’ve ever done before; very meaningful,” said Dutton. “I was surprised at how many people were there. It gives me hope that maybe something will be done about the bullying in schools.”

Susan Fain, Walker’s sister, spoke about keeping her brother’s memory.

“He [Walker] would not want anyone to be sad anymore,” said Fain. “He only wants you to have happy memories of him.”

Fain shared several of her favorite memories. One memory in particular, grabbed Angel Hackney.

“I have a cousin about the boys’ age and he’s like a little brother to me,” said Hackney. “When Dalton’s sister came across the loud speaker talking about how they would play in the creek, tears came to my eyes because I thought that could have been my little cousin, bullied to the point he thought he had no way out and no one there to help. “

East River Church in Bluefield, Va., pastor, Tim Boyd, led the circle in prayer and words of comfort.

“Dalton was a fun-loving, energetic boy who loved his family and people,” said Boyd. “Find comfort in God’s love.”

There is a lesson to be learned from Walker’s death; it could have been prevented. Bullying and suicide can be prevented if everyone would take a stand.

BC student, Katie Lawson is taking a stand.

“I do a lot for a suicide prevention campaign called, The Trevor Project,” said Lawson. “I am trying to work towards ending suicide in young people’s lives. Even though Dalton’s life ended, it was awesome to celebrate his life and see so many people working to stop bullying and suicide.”