Anti-bullying bill named for victim to be introduced

Posted at: 01/27/2014 10:36 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

17-year-old Carlos Vigil took his own life in July after being relentlessly bullied at school and online.
17-year-old Carlos Vigil took his own life in July after being relentlessly bullied at school and online.

When 17-year-old Carlos Vigil took his own life in July, his family says the impact was felt around the world.

The gay high school student had been relentlessly bullied at school and online. Now, a state senator will introduce legislation in Vigil's name to try to prevent bullying in New Mexico.

"He was a wonderful big brother. He was a wonderful son," mom Jacqueline Vigil said.

The Vigil family spoke exclusively to KOB Eyewitness News 4 about the journey to insure their son's death is not in vain.

"It's so bad that people didn't realize how beautiful he was as a person," dad Ray Vigil said.

Each day without their beautiful son feels like a lifetime for Jacqueline and Ray Vigil. For years before his death, watching Carlos face a daily struggle at school, and even at home, was its own great pain.

"Every day I kissed him on his forehead, and told him I loved him," Ray said. "I couldn't take away what was already done."

Since 3rd grade, Carlos was hurting. The bullies seemed to be everywhere.

"My poor boy was just 24/7," Ray said. "Myspace, Facebook, Twitter. It just, you can't get away from it."

Carlos's grandma Dolores Marquez is crusading to keep his memory alive, alongside his parents.

"Carlos was a victim of society," she said "The weapon used? Words."

Marquez says reporting the bullying to grown-ups at school didn't help. Yet, bullied himself, Carlos still reached out to help others.

"He was the one who would stand up against a bully for somebody else," Jacqueline said.

Carlos was working with lawmakers to develop anti-bullying legislation. He planned to run for mayor of Los Lunas when he turned 18 this year.

When he died, his family knew they had to fight too.

"People are understanding now, that this is an epidemic," Jacqueline said.

On Tuesday at the roundhouse, the Vigil family will stand alongside Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, to introduce a bill requesting $200,000 for bullying prevention programs across the state.

"We're still here, supporting him and making sure that what he started gets finished," Jacqueline said.

It will be called the Carlos Vigil Memorial Fund, and for the Vigils, it's a step toward Carlos's own dream.

"He told me, 'Grandma, I'm going to stop bullying.'" Marquez said. "I think, today, 'Is that how you're doing it, son? Because it's getting done.' At the risk of our shredded heart, and at the risk of not having him anymore, but it's getting done."

Candelaria will introduce the bill Tuesday with several bipartisan co-sponsors.

The Vigil family says they hope there will be a future discussion about punishment and consequences geared specifically toward bullying-related offenses.