GREEN BAY, Wis. Students at Washington Middle School in Green Bay got the chance to hear an eye-opening anti-bullying presentation on Monday.
This comes after last summer, when Action 2 News reported a teacher resigned from the school amid incidents of student aggression, violence and verbal abuse. The presentation wouldn't have been possible without the help of two 10-year-old girls.
"Stand for the Silent" presentation speaker, Kirk Smalley says 56,000 children committed suicide in the last seven years because of bullying. Smalley himself lost his son to bullying.
"2,811 days ago, Ty killed himself because he was being bullied at school for two years and no one ever did anything to make it stop," said Smalley.
Washington Middle School has had its fair share of bullying, but Monday’s presentation hopes to change that.
"This is one of those moves and one of those really important pieces to help continue to reduce it with the ultimate goal of hopefully eliminating bullying. This is a key piece to help students develop an understanding of how their actions impact others and then also to develop that empathy piece," said Dennis Christensen, Principal of Washington Middle School.
The “Stand for the Silent” program was started in 2010 by a group of high school students out of Oklahoma, since then the Smalley's have traveled to more than 1,250 schools and presented to more than 1.3 million kids.
"A lot of these kids are going to be crying by the time we're done and that's okay, sometimes it's the first time a kid has ever had any empathy at all. By the end of this presentation you know we touch their hearts and we try to get them involved," said Smalley.
Twins Ireland and Isabella Kirkpatrick raised money to bring the program to Washington. The 10-year-old twins did it because their brother was once bullied.
"We decided to do a lemonade stand, we sold lemonade, cookies and soda and we raised $2,600 for “Stand for the Silent” to come here," said Ireland Kirkpatrick.
The girls even donated money out of their allowance every week.
"Two individuals are going to make a very positive impact in their community, they saw an opportunity and a need to share the importance that bullying has with them and take it to an even grander scale so I'm very appreciative to the family," said Christensen.