Tag Archives: Bullying

Finally Protesting The Real Problem

.jpg photo of Bullying protest
Salethia Byrd (center) tears up while she speaks Wednesday morning in front of the Christian County Board of Education during a Bullying protest.

Group protests Bullying in schools

Christian County, KY  –  One teenager wished Wednesday morning in front of the Christian County Board of Education that more people would stop ignoring bullying.

“I wish people would see it and understand that words hurt people,” Salethia Byrd said during a bullying protest.

Salethia shared with the group that came to protest bullying that she started getting seriously bullied in the sixth grade.  A new girl came to the school, and Salethia said she tried to befriend the new girl.  However, that student began to hang out with people that didn’t like Salethia, which she didn’t know why.  The student began to talk about Salethia, but Salethia cut her off.

A short time later, the student apologized and asked to be friends again.  But the student started talking about her again.  Salethia shut her down again.

“To this day, she is still bullying me,” she said.

She wants people to know how much bullying can impact self-esteem.

Salethia explained she reported the student to the principal, but all the student got was a write-up.

“And that’s not going to stop anybody,” she said, adding she wished consequences were more severe for those bullying.

Her best friend, Anijah Watkins, said she was picked on because she was the odd one.  She didn’t know what it was exactly, whether it was the music she listened to or something else. But it got better for her with time.  Anijah said she just dealt with it and never told anyone.

Bullying protest organizer Adia Snorton Johnson said the protest was sparked by a video of students fighting that recently came out.  After the video was seen, people were calling her to tell her that their child was being bullied.

Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks also stopped by to present a proclamation declaring Wednesday an anti-bullying day.  He also shared a few stories of how he was bullied when he was a child.

Johnson said they had to do something about this.  So, she organized the protest.  But this won’t be the last of it.  Johnson said this will be a continuous effort.  For those who want to join, stop by the Legacy Learning center at 403 Moores Drive, call the center at 270-962-7229 or email Johnson at asnorton2011@gmail.com to find out how to get involved.

Johnson said they will meet throughout the summer and suggested children get involved in the Boys and Girls Club of Hopkinsville-Christian County’s summer camp.  It is $30 per teen.  If the family can’t afford to send the teen, Johnson said she’s willing to sponsor a few.

And if there are any children being bullied or doing the bullying, they have to be pointed in the right direction.

TX Hazing – Sexual Assault Draws Expulsions

.jpg photo of Superintendent of La Vernia Tx Schools
Superintendent Jose Moreno said that La Vernia is “deeply committed to protecting the safety and well-being of all its students.”

La Vernia ISD upholds expulsion of 2
students accused of sexual assault

LA VERNIA, TX  –  The La Vernia Independent School District upheld on Tuesday the expulsion of two students who have been accused of sexual assault, while two other students preemptively withdrew their appeals.

After holding hearings and deliberating in closed session for 2½ hours, the board of trustees unanimously voted to send two students to a disciplinary alternative education program outside of the district.  La Vernia ISD currently contracts with Nixon-Smiley Consolidated Independent School District for DAEP placements.  If the students do not enroll in that program by May 1, they can enroll in a juvenile justice alternative program run by Floresville Independent School District.

Originally, the board was going to consider appeals for four students, but two students withdrew their appeals just before the meeting began, opting instead to accept the district’s decision by default.  Those students have the same options for continuing their educations as the two students whose appeals were denied.

The four students, who were identified only by their initials — K.H., Z.S., P.B. and R.P. — are among the 13 students who have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into hazing and sexual assault accusations at La Vernia High School.  None of the initials match the six adult students who have been charged so far with sexual assault.

Previously, attorneys for Dustin Norman, one of the students charged as an adult, criticized the district’s handling of due process and claimed that Norman had not been given an appeals hearing.

Superintendent Jose Moreno said in a statement that La Vernia is “deeply committed to protecting the safety and well-being of all its students.”  Before adjourning the meeting at 8:05 p.m., he said he would look into the possibility of hiring a campus police officer, at the request of a board member.

“I believe the board has taken all the information they were provided and made a sound decision based on what they believe was right,” Moreno said.

“The board’s decision, while a difficult one, gives the students a path forward to complete their credits and graduate,” Moreno said.

Since the arrests, the middle school and high school students have participated in Rachel’s Challenge, a program aimed at reducing bullying, harassment and violence in schools.  Moreno said he has also met with the parents of athletes to discuss their concerns.

So far, authorities have arrested six adult and seven minor students in connection with allegations of systemic hazing within the high school’s football, basketball and baseball teams.  Earlier this month, the family of one of the victims filed a lawsuit against the district and school staff, alleging their son had been repeatedly assaulted by football teammates over a period of three years.

The Texas Rangers have taken the lead on the investigation, which remains ongoing.  Officers have established a presence at the school as they conduct interviews with students.

Give A Child A Voice Foundation

.jpg photo of Foundation Founder
Cindy Dennis

Springfield Mom Creates Foundation To Fight Child Abuse

Springfield, Missouri – Cindy Dennis, author of child abuse prevention books, is creating the Give A Child A Voice Foundation.

By forming a nonprofit foundation, Dennis said she hopes to reach more children, parents, grandparents, foster parents and educators. As a foundation, she will be in a better position to raise funds and apply for grants.  And she can get cheaper “nonprofit” publishing rates.

The Springfield mom presented her plans Wednesday at the 1 Million Cups meeting, where entrepreneurs pitch their business concepts to an audience.

“Our objective is to reduce and eventually end all forms of child abuse, neglect and molestation,” she told the audience.  “We will achieve this by teaching kids to stand up for themselves, be vigilant and become a crusader for their own well-being.”

“Children will learn that their bodies are sacred and no one has a right to victimize them.  They will learn tactics and strategies that can lead to prevention.”

Dennis said as the foundation raises money, she will be able to create a high-quality video “that is engaging to children with animation and songs.”  Dennis also wants to distribute the book “Friend Manual” to kindergarten through third-grade classes, preschools and churches.  “Friend Manual” teaches kids about safety, the difference between good secrets and bad secrets, and what to do if a stranger approaches or tries to grab them.

Dennis said the foundation will be run by volunteers and the office (in her home) is free.

“Someone asked if I will get burnt out,” she said.  “I’ve been doing this for 15 years, so I really don’t think I’ll be getting burnt out.

“We did have an incident in my family and that is why I’m so devoted to this,” she added.

The Give A Child A Voice Foundation board of directors includes Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott, KGBX’s Liz Delany, Erik Dennis, Councilwoman Kristi Fulnecky, April Harrell, Stacy James, Sam Sandora, Dawn Schaffer and Lauren O’Reilly.

Dennis said they are working to obtain 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Dennis has said her inspiration for her book series came from a relative who was molested at the age of 3.

Find out more about her books and watch videos featuring local celebrities like Jeff Houghton and Doug Pitt reading her books at cindylubooks.com.

Upcoming Fundraiser

A private concert featuring the band “Members Only” will be on April 30 at the Hotel Vandivort.  The venue was donated by Hotel Vandivort owner John McQueary, Dennis said.  Tickets will be $100 with proceeds going to the foundation’s video project.

Dennis said she is looking for businesses and individuals to sponsor the event.  If interested, email giveachildavoice@att.net.