Stand for the Silent: End Bullying, Save Lives - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Stand for the Silent: End Bullying, Save Lives

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By: Claire Powell

Kirk Smalley, founder of Stand for the Silent, spoke at Ankeny's DMACC campus on Saturday morning.

Three years ago, Smalley's 11-year-old son, Ty, took his own life after being bullied for two years during school.

In 2010, sixty-five Oklahoma college students heard about the Smalley's tragedy and created Stand for the Silent organization to bring awareness to bullying.

Smalley spoke to Iowans about how bullying not only tragically affected his life, but how he wants to make sure it doesn't ruin anyone else's life in the future.

"He had a light that would brighten the darkest room, a light that would never truly extinguish," said Smalley, during his speech.

"We're losing kids to this almost every single day, it doesn't just happen in small town Oklahoma, it happens all over the world, you know we've lost over 55,000 children because of suicide," said Smalley.

Kirk and Laura Smalley travel all around the United States and world and have spoke to over 700,000 kids about how to prevent bullying.

"We adults need to get involved that's where these kids are learning this. I mean we're not born to hate, hatred is something that we learn from the people in our lives and around us and it doesn't have to be this way," said Smalley.

They also encourage others to open their own chapter of Stand for the Silent, like the one here in central Iowa.

"I want kids to know that if they're not comfortable telling their parents, or telling their teachers then to come to us we'll talk to you, we'll help. I mean we'll guide you in the right way, I mean there are other people that are willing to help and that's what I want everybody to know," said Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, Stand for the Silent Iowa Chapter Leader.

Even Iowa kids are raising their voices against bullying.

"I shared them on my Facebook page and told them to like the page and I hope they stop bullying in the whole world," said Raegan Junge, a member of Stand for the Silent.

"We've got to make it stop and that's our plan just to keep doing this as long as we possibly can and try to get this message out to these kids," said Smalley.

The Smalley's just joined Lady Gaga's "Born This Way Foundation" this spring.

The couple also visited President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama about how to combat and prevent bullying.



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