PORTERVILLE, Calif. — The mayor of Porterville, Calif. in the center of the state recently sparked controversy over his suggestion that victims of bullying “grow a pair”.
His polarizing comments came as Porterville Mayor Cameron Hamilton responded to a councilwoman’s anti-bullying proposal, which would establish off-campus safe zones for teens who are bullied after school.
“I mean, I am against bullying, but I am getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything that ills the world when all most people have to do is a grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves,” he said during the council meeting.
Councilwoman Virginia Gurrola, who introduced the program, quickly snapped back at Hamilton.
“It is hard to stand up and maybe grow a pair when you are maybe a 10-year-old little girl,” she said.
Gurrola accuses the mayor of anti-gay sentiments. According to The Los Angeles Times, she said while the program is intended to support all bullying victims, she said Hamilton’s comments were subtly directed toward the gay community.
The mayor disputes that claim and says he does not support the program because it would be costly.
The Times also reports that Mayor Cameron Hamilton said he has read comments about his statement and “it appears that the majority of our country has decided to speak up and say they agree with my analogy and are fed up with the zero-tolerance policy of our public schools.”
There’s another council meeting scheduled for Tuesday night and supporters and opponents of the mayor are expected to attend.
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