California mayor's bullying remarks spark anger

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Updated: 5/16 2:04 pm

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 (http://abc30.tv/1jmHa1W ) she felt attacked by the mayor's comments. She says bullies often target young gay people.


©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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