Kids in Huntsville City Schools learned about the signs of bullying, and what to do if they're being bullied, at an anti-bullying workshop on Monday at Jemison High School.
This is in the wake of Huntsville High School Freshman Nigel Shelby taking his own life. His family told WAAY 31 he was being treated for depression, but bullying may have played a role.
Huntsville City Board of Education Member Michelle Watkins, who put on the workshop at Jemison High School Monday night, told WAAY 31 it was not in response to Nigel Shelby's death, but she said his death does make this event even more important.
Lashanda Haygood is a junior at Lee High School. She said she's been verbally bullied, physically bullied, and cyber-bullied while in school. According to Haygood, she isn't the only one.
"I see it happen every day, like they'll make fun of kids, different kids, for like their shoes, their clothes, it could be anything," said Haygood.
Bullying can do more damage than people know.
"They'll just be joking around and everybody thinks it's funny, but at the same time, you don't know what that person thinks. You don't know what that person is going through," said Haygood.
Watkins said, on average, she gets one call a week from a parent saying their child is being bullied.
"Bullying is a problem, and you can't solve, or resolve, a problem unless you identify it," said Watkins.
Whether it be verbal, physical, relational, or cyber-bullying, this workshop taught kids to not retaliate and to tell an adult. Watkins said parents can get involved via email, so there is a paper trail.
"Talk to your principal. If you don't get any resolution with your principal, reach out to the district, reach out to your board members," said Watkins.
Haygood said she overcame her bullies. She has a message for other kids going through what she went through.
"Other kids should not be scared to speak up and if that person doesn't do anything, or do the right thing, speak up again. You can never stop speakin' up. Don't give up, and you are worth something," said Haygood.
Watkins plans on creating an anti-bullying task force in her district in North Huntsville. They will have regular meetings like the one at Jemison Monday night.
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