Bowling Green High School freshmen can stop the cycle of so-called cyberbullying, a state official said Friday.
“Fifty-three percent of kids (in Kentucky) admit to having bullied someone or helped bully someone,” said Toyah Robey, director of the Division of Student Success for the Kentucky Department of Education. “You can break the cycle of bullying. If you like a comment (on Facebook) you become part of the problem. It’s easy to get into that culture.”
Cyberbullying is using social media to harass or harangue people. Robey said one school in Kentucky has had two suicides and one attempted suicide from teens being cyberbullied.
“There’s not a kid in this room who wants to see that final act,” Robey told BGHS students. “If you have been bullied or bullied someone, it will stay with you for the rest of your life.”
Robey participated in a panel discussion for BGHS freshmen on cyberbullying. The forum was produced by Creative Ky, a group of Western Kentucky University public relations seniors who are competing in the Bateman Case Study Competition for the Public Relations Student Society of America.
There are three teams from WKU competing for Bateman prizes.
The freshmen got to see the finished colored mural made this week as part of the awareness campaign. There was also a forum for parents about cyberbullying held Thursday evening at the high school.
Drew Mitchell of Creative Ky told the students as a 2009 BGHS graduate it hadn’t been too long ago that he was sitting in the theater’s seats. Brandon Bradshaw, youth educator at the Southern Kentucky Fine Arts Center, said school would be one of the best times in the lives of students and there are many activities available to seek in the community if their “passion may not be filled within these doors.” Bradshaw said there are people who care about them. “Don’t let stupid bullying bring you down,” he said.
There are two places in Kentucky law where bullying applies. Harassment inside a school where a student suffers fear of injury or embarrassment can result in a Class B misdemeanor and a possible 60 days in jail. Harassing communications, which would be considered cyberbullying, is another possible charge.
The result could be an orange jumpsuit, picking up cigarette butts or washing police cars for the culprit, Bowling Green Police Department Capt. Brian Harrell said.
The freshmen should seek out a teacher if the bullying continues, BGHS guidance counselor Leah Krisher said. “We can put things in place to make these things stop.”
“It’s great how they can teach us how bullying can affect all of us,” said Timothy Lunsford, 15, of Bowling Green.
“Bullying is not fun,” said Kim Bruce, also 15, from Bowling Green.