November 25, 2014
PORTERVILLE, Calif. (AP) - A Central California mayor's remarks that bullying victims should toughen up and defend themselves has sparked anger among some city officials and gay rights advocates.
At a recent City Council meeting, Porterville Mayor Cameron Hamilton said he opposes bullying, but thinks it is too often blamed for problems. Hamilton said some people need to "grow a pair."
The mayor was responding to a student program proposing safe zones around town where children could seek refuge from bullies. Porterville is a community of 55,000 residents 70 miles southeast of Fresno.
Councilwoman Virginia Gurrola backs the safe zones and told the mayor it's difficult for a 10-year-old girl to do what he called for.
Melissa McMurrey of the group, Gay Porterville, tells KFSN-TV she felt attacked by the mayor's comments. She says bullies often target young gay people.
Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.