Group to target bullying in schools

Published 7:06 pm Friday, October 14, 2011

The Demopolis City School System will host a group in the coming weeks with the hopes to remove bullying from its schools.

Representatives from KARMA (Kids Against Ridicule Meanness and Aggression) will visit the city’s four campuses Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 to discuss the issues of bullying in schools, a problem Demopolis superintendent of education Dr. Al Griffin has cited as growing nationally.

“As a country, we have stepped about from the social graces of our society,” said Jessica Brookshire, a 2011 graduate of Auburn University, a former contestant for Miss Alabama, the reigning Miss Tombigbee and founder of KARMA.

Email newsletter signup

“Sarcasm is now deemed appropriate in any situation. Our children see it in their television programs …even on the Disney channel. Cutting remarks, sideways glances and eye-rolling at another’s words or actions comes with a laugh track on these shows. They have got to understand that this is not real life…and if they treat people that way, they won’t have any friends.”

KARMA’s mission is to teach children to understand the power of their words, to think of the feelings of others before they speak, and to always lend a hand to those in need.

As a young girl, Brookshire said she was the victim of bullying, which started in fourth grade and lasted throughout her senior year in high school.

“I know the pain and fear that come from the words of another. Words hurt, and they stay with you well into your adult years,” she said. “The feeling of loneliness that a bully can instill is unbearable. As a survivor of bullying, it is my duty to ensure that no child should ever have to endure that feeling. Our schools should offer a safe and positive learning environment for all students.”