PORTERVILLE, Calif., May 19 (UPI) -- The mayor of Porterville, California, is in hot water after telling victims of bullying their problems might be their own fault for not fighting back.
"I'm against bullying, but I'm getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything, and the ills of the world," Porterville Mayor Cameron Hamilton said when the issue was brought up in a city council meeting.
"Most people just have to grow a pair, and stick up for them damn selves."
The city council was discussing the establishment of formally recognized off-campus "safe zones" for local teens suffering from bullying in schools. The efforts toward safe zones in Porterville were started by teens themselves who said such areas were impossible on school grounds.
"It's an opportunity for the community to come together, as a whole, and say that we're not going to take this bullying in our town," said Melissa McMurrey of civil rights organization Gay Porterville.
McMurrey's tone soured after Hamilton's insensitive comments.
"My feelings were really hurt and I was, essentially shocked by the end of it because it kind of felt like a little bit of a witch hunt, even though that was not the initial intention, from my understanding, of the safe zone project," she told KFSN in Fresno.
After Hamilton's remarks on bullying, Porterville Councilwoman Virginia Gurrola pointed out that "it's hard to just grow a pair when you're a 10-year-old girl."