Local teen taking a stand against bullying through social media, petition
We’ve all heard the heartbreaking stories about people being victimized by bullies. In some instances, they are tormented to the point that they take their own lives to escape the abuse.
Korie Devereaux, an 18-year-old Blount County resident who now attends Tusculum College in Greeneville, is taking a stand against bullying by using social media as a vehicle for support, education and advocacy. She is now circulating a petition that she hopes will result in penalties severe enough to make bullies think twice before they prey on others.
Korie said, “My project includes both the petition and a group on Facebook. It started after the suicide of Amanda Todd,” a 15-year-old Canadian teenager whose suicide earlier this month was attributed to cyber-bullying through Facebook.
“I decided enough was enough — too many people are committing suicide (bullycide) because of bullying,” Korie said. “I created the group on Facebook now called ‘Stand Up Against Bullying: Suicide Prevention.’ It started as just a group for people to talk but it is really something more. My members and I give support to anyone that needs it — as of now we have one (member) that confronted (bullying), told her parents and also told her principal about the bullying, and she has reported it has stopped.
“We help each other, but I did not want to stop there. I came up with the idea to petition the school board and U.S. government to harshen the punishments for bullying. Kids should not get a slap on the wrists — this is a serious issue and bullycide should not be a concern. Children and adults should feel safe and protected, not afraid to walk out their front doors in the morning.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov , “Bullying, particularly among school-age children, is a major public health problem both domestically and internationally. Current estimates suggest that nearly 30 percent of American adolescents reported at least moderate bullying experiences as the bully, the victim, or both. Specifically, of a nationally representative sample of adolescents, 13 percent reported being a bully, 11 percent reported being a victim of bullying, and 6 percent reported being both a bully and a victim.”
Korie said she is passionate about this societal ill because of its cruelty. “Though bullying doesn’t only happen in adolescent ages, it is more common than bullying in adult ages,” she said. “I was never bullied as bad as some are. I have had comments made to me, just like most people have, but the people who are bullied are tormented daily. This includes comments, pictures making fun, YouTube videos of them being assaulted, and many more. People are pushed over the edge and bullycide or self-harm is an outcome.”
If you’d like to be involved as a solution to this public health problem, Korie invites you to join her Facebook group and also to sign the petition.
“We all share thoughts and ideas on my group page. Input is always welcome,” she said.
To sign the petition, go to http://www.change.org -states-government-school-boards-make-harsher-punishments-for-bullying and follow the directions for signing.
To join Korie’s Facebook group, Stand Up Against Bullying: Suicide Prevention, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/477467312286935.
For additional information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at http://www.cdc.gov ; STRYVE at http://www.safeyouth.gov ; Stop Bullying at http://www.stopbullying.gov ; and Surgeon General’s Report on Youth Violence at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov .
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. Her column runs every Sunday in the Life section. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)