Amea Smith remembers how bullying lowered her self-esteem.
“I missed a whole bunch of days my seventh grade and eighth grade year because I was being bullied by people and I really just didn't want to go to school,” Smith said.
She’s a junior at Smith High School in Guilford County and she has found a way to use her bad experiences for something positive.
She’s a member of the Everyone Club – a club designed to stop bullying.
It was started by counselor Amber Steele, a 10th grade counselor at the school.
The club has been around for about five years.
“I had a student who was bullied in elementary school and middle school and he had overcome it and he wanted to do that for other students,” Steele said.
The club spreads awareness throughout the year and gives students an outlet to share their stories and help others, including talking to middle school students.
Jesus Tenil says the peer support has made a difference for him.
“It helps a lot of people. We don’t discriminate. We include as many people as possible,” he said.
What’s happening at Smith is one example of how schools are taking their own approaches toward combating bullying.
District-wide, families are encouraged to report bullying to a trusted adult.
“The first thing is to tell someone at the school because a lot of times students will not report it,” Steele said.
Guilford County Schools also has an online form for people to report bullying incidents.
“We turn those reports around immediately. Principals receive the reports and then they are asked to respond to the reports as soon as possible,” said Karen Meadows, supervisor of K-8 counseling for Guilford County Schools.
In a similar online reporting system, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools offers Bully Patrol.
WSFCS also has a Bully Patrol hotline people can call at (336) 703-4193.
People can file reports anonymously through both school districts.
Other Piedmont schools offer similar resources. Check with your child’s school system for details on protocol.
Two cases of bullying have received national attention this week.
Their families say the girls’ deaths are because of bullying.