The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

September 13, 2013

Parents, children can take a stand, put stop to bullying

One of the saddest things we hear is when a young person takes his or her own life because of bullying.

The pressure and the abuse gets to be too much for them and they can’t take it anymore. They see suicide as the only way to end the pain and suffering.

We’d love to have a magic solution to stop bullying and stop all suicides, but we don’t. We know that’s not possible.

But, what is possible is to continue to educate young people on the subject. That’s what Kirk Smalley is doing with his Stand For the Silent organization.

Smalley knows what he’s talking about. His own son, Ty, committed suicide after enduring years of bullying.

Now, Smalley goes to schools, hoping to reach at least one child who will take his message to heart and stop bullying others, or reach one child who has been bullied and lead them to get help and not do anything rash.

Just this past week, Smalley was at Cimarron Public Schools and Emerson Middle School. We don’t know how many kids were swayed by his message, but we have to believe his family’s story touched at least some of them.

Eliminating bullying from schools is going to take some time, and it’s going to take a lot of effort from a lot of people. It starts at home with parents and their children. Parents need to open up a dialogue with their children about bullying and how damaging it can be.

People like Kirk Smalley — along with others who have similar programs, as well as school personnel who deal with children every day — show we can make a difference.

Together, we can change things — one person, one child at a time.

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