November 15, 2016

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Last spring, our community experienced the tragic loss of five youths to suicide. No one knows the cause, but this tragedy has opened new conversations with local youth about the challenges they are facing.

As I have been meeting with youth, they told me about their significant struggles with bullying. This week is Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. It’s a time to speak up about bullying and talk about how we can stop it in our communities. Bullying is happening in our schools, but it doesn’t end when school is over. Cyber-bullying follows the kids home. As many of the youth told me, people may not think words have an impact online, but they do.

People in Oxford are working to create a more inclusive community where bullying doesn’t have a place through campaigns like Sea of Pink. They know that bullying doesn’t show strength and that it isn’t acceptable in any form. It takes a strong person to reach out to people in need and build them up instead of breaking them down.

If you see something, say something and do something to help those who are being bullied. Reach out to those who are being bullied and be an encouragement for them. You never know the struggles they may be facing. I encourage everyone to be a someone and take a stand against bullying.