WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A bullying video has gone viral after a young boy captivated the internet with one simple question: “Why do they bully?”
The video out of Tennessee quickly gained the attention of parents around the globe, even celebrities responded; offering encouragement to kids who fall victim to bullying. Over the weekend KSN met Leah, a young girl with a big heart, who wanted to donate her birthday to helping stray animals. After learning about her efforts, she opened up that her passion for helping animals derived from the constant bullying at school.
“She was just jumped last week,” said Leah’s mom, Danielle Hayworth. “She’s been called ugly, dumb, and she’s been attacked, and now, she feels like she doesn’t even want to live anymore.”
The culture around bullying is not new, but the technology that can instantly put this issue in front of us is new. Monday KSN also spoke with a licensed child counselor about the long-term effects of bullying.
“The most important things I would want kids to understand is they deserve to be treated well,” said clinical counselor, Matthew Gallagher. “They don’t have to put up with bad behavior; we’re teaching kids that they don’t have to be an easy target so they can report whatever happens. If someone is coming after me and making my life miserable, I have a choice of whether I put up with that.”
Gallagher emphasized that the kids that are doing the bullying usually aren’t being raised in an environment that promotes a safe place where they feel accepted.
“Kids who are happy and adjusted and have positive relationships don’t generally pick on other people,” he explained. “We all grow up being told sticks and stones and words will never hurt me but what’s ironic is that most of us remember mean things that somebody said to us even decades ago, and I hear about those things in session frequently.”
The most common place for bullying is right at school, so KSN spoke with Wichita Public Schools Director of Public safety to ask how they handle these cases.
“We take social emotional development very serious three secs and bullying is a part of that social emotional development.” said Terri Moses. “It’s going to make it break you when you grow up. You’re going to have to learn how to problem solve, work through situations, work as a team in order to survive in a work environment, so we start very young.”
Moses adds that a mission throughout Wichita’s Public School system is to guide students towards better ways to express themselves as well as problem solve.