LAMAR, MO.--- An Oklahoma man shares the tragic story of how bullying caused his young son to commit suicide, all to help save lives around the world. Kirk Smalley's spoke to the Lamar community tonight. A Pittsburg State University student who is majoring in social work contacted him to speak in her hometown. Bullying is a subject near and dear to her heart because her own son was bullied at a young age. She hope's Smalley's story will help combat the issue in her community.
"Suicide is actually the second leading cause of death in young people in America between the ages of 10 and 24," said Kirk Smalley, Stand for the Silent President.
It's a subject Kirk Smalley knows painfully well. In 2010, his son Ty took his life at the young age of 11 after years of being bullied. Now his mission is to empower kids around the globe.
"I promised my boy I was going to stop bullying in this world," said Smalley.
He's doing it through the organization "Stand for the Silent" in memory of Ty. Smalley travels every day of the year to different communities near and far.
"Our main message to kids is, I am somebody. That's what we teach them. You don't have to like me, we won't hang out but you don't have to abuse me either," said Smalley.
It's a life-saving message Jessica Collins wanted to share with her hometown of Lamar tonight.
"My son was bullied at school, it started in the third grade and progressed into his fifth grade year. It initially started as verbal abuse and then it did escalate into assault," said Jessica Collins, Mother.
She says education is key to put a halt to bullying.
"I think, often times we want to think it's just kids being kids. I actually heard someone use the phrase 'weeding out the weak," said Collins.
"This has been caused by adults. This is our fault, we've done this to our society. Kids aren't born to hate, hatred is something we learn from those around us," said Smalley.
So, a day at a time, Smalley works to save lives.
"Maybe by hearing what we talk about, some other family won't live the nightmare Laura and I do everyday," said Smalley.
Stand for the Silent was started in 2010 by Oklahoma City high schoolers who wanted to honor Ty and help protect children like him. Now, the movement has touched the entire United States and countries in Africa as well as Australia.
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