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Anti-Bullying Symposium to be held Thursday

March 29, 2016

National studies indicate one out of every four students report being bullied during the school year. Every seven seconds a child is bullied, and on average 160,000 kids stay home from school every single day to avoid the torment.  However, more than half of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. 

How to engage and encourage students to step forward when they see a friend being bullied is the subject of an event at Emporia State this week.

“Take a Stand Against Bullying” will be the topic of a symposium Thursday, March 31, from 5-7 p.m. in Webb Hall of the Memorial Union. This event is open to everyone with no charge to attend.  

Developed and coordinated by psychology graduate students Amanda Brabec and Kailee Dettmann, the symposium will include them discussing the causes and effects of bullying. Guest speakers Kirk Smalley and Kelby Johnson will discuss their personal stories on how it affected their lives.

Smalley’s son, Ty, had been bullied by the same bully for more than two years. When Ty fought back, he was suspended from school. At the age of 11, Ty took his own life. Students at nearby Oklahoma State University started the group Stand for the Silent after hearing the news of Kirk and Laura Smalley’s son. 

Smalley will share his story and educate others on ways to prevent others from experiencing tragedies like this from happening to more children and families.

Johnson will discuss persecution he suffered for his sexual orientation in his small rural community. He will be speaking about ways peers and educators can make a difference. 

“We encourage everyone to attend, as bullying is a severe issue that shows no end in sight,” said Dettmann. “Our prime audience is students, especially education majors who can take this and utilize the information in their classrooms. We are also targeting faculty, as bullying exists in the college realm as well.  With the rise in cyberbullying, there is even more need for change. We want to encourage everyone to be that change.”



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