California mayor tells victims of bullying to ‘grow a pair,’ angers townspeople

Cameron HamiltonCarson, Calif., made headlines recently when a member of its city council proposed legislation that would criminalize acts of bullying perpetrated by children as young as age 5. Now another California town is in the news for its mayor’s equally unorthodox stance on bullying. Fox News reports:

At a recent City Council meeting, Porterville Mayor Cameron Hamilton said he opposes bullying but thinks it is too often blamed for the world’s problems. Hamilton said some people need to “grow a pair.”

The mayor was responding to a student program proposing safe zones around town with signs directing children to places where they 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 hard to just ‘grow a pair’ when you’re a 10-year-old girl.”

Point taken. Even in its figurative sense, as intended, Hamilton’s view that bullying victims need to confront their attackers is impractical as a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Hamilton has come under scrutiny for previous statements such as his position on homosexuality. In opposing a 2013 proclamation to make June “gay pride month,” Hamilton said:

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I refuse to marginalize them down to one identifier, their sexual persuasion. The gay proclamation is strictly about being gay when in reality everybody is much more than that.

With respect to the current kerfuffle, Hamilton’s was the sole vote in favor of tabling further discussion of safety zones, which he said is not because he’s anti-gay but because it would be costly to implement.

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