Bullying was something that happened when I was in school. I went to a small, private school and we were very clique-ish…and sometimes, we were very mean to each other. We talked shit behind each others’ backs and we called each other names and we spread rumors and gossip like crazy. We were typical mean girls. We didn’t call it bullying then, but that’s exactly what it was. And while I’d like to say that I stayed out of it and I was only a victim…that’s simply not true. I got bullied, sure, but I bullied other girls, too. It’s not something I’m proud of and I only hope that I never truly hurt anyone else with my nasty words.
Clearly, bullying is not new…but it certainly has changed. We didn’t have the internet and Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. Sure…we spread rumors like it was our job, but our worlds were relatively small and even the most vicious piece of gossip reached only a handful of people. But now…with the push of a button, information can be shared with thousands of people. Everyone that reads it can share it again and again. Things can go viral and then the whole world hears about it. As an adult, the thought of that is overwhelming. I can’t even imagine how overwhelming it would be to a teenager.
I think it’s good that people are becoming more aware of what a huge problem bullying is, but I don’t think enough is being done to prevent it. Most schools don’t have room in the budget for anti-bullying campaigns and many administrators are already overwhelmed with other problems in their schools. And that is why Stand For The Silent exists.
Ty Smalley was just 11 years old when he died. He’d been bullied in school for two years and one day he’d had enough. He retaliated against his bully and he was suspended from school for his actions. He was so distraught that he went home and killed himself. And Ty is just one of the many kids who have killed themselves because they were being bullied. Ty’s parents decided to make his tragic death mean something and they, along with students from Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City Upward Bound Chapter, started Stand For The Silent. The Smalleys now travel around the country, telling their story to students and demonstrating for these kids the real…and sometimes deadly…consequences of bullying. Their hope is that they can teach bullies that what they are doing causes real harm, teach kids to stand up for those who are being bullied and teach the victims of bullying that they do matter…that they are somebody.
As you can imagine, all that traveling can be expensive and most schools can’t afford to pay for the presentation. But it’s such an important message to get out. So visit their website today. Make a one time donation or become a Stand For The Silent partner with a monthly donation. Or buy some of the things from their store and help spread their message every time you wear it.
If you are being bullied, there is help. Click here to reach out to someone who can help you. And remember…you are somebody. Don’t ever let a bully tell you otherwise.