Arkansans gather to raise awareness about growing bullying epidemic
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - It's an issue that affects thousands of children and Saturday hundreds met to help put an end to it.
The Build Communities Not Bullies Fest was held and several districts were recognized for doing just that.
"Children are actually committing suicide because they're tired of being bullied," said Robert Browning, an organizer for the event.
It's a growing epidemic that Browning says is stealing our children from us.
"We're trying to save our children, we're trying to save our community from being taken over by bullying," he said.
Bullying affects 1 out of every 7 students. Miss Arkansas Amy Crain was one of those children.
"Days of crying myself to sleep at night," said Crain. "Days of looking in the mirror and tearing myself apart wondering if what that person was saying about me was actually true."
She and another well-known Arkansas native are using their platforms to raise awareness and lower staggering numbers.
"It became my goal that I do everything I can for the rest of my life to make sure that other kids don't go through that same problem," said Crain.
Entertainer Phyllis Stickney said parents need to get more involved to help solve the problem.
"Sometimes we don't even know if our kids are being bullied are that they may be bullies," said Stickney. "It takes a village to raise a child."
Today the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special School Districts were recognized for their efforts in bullying awareness. It's something Crain said may be saving lives.
"It can absolutely be devastating and we see that effect on the news everyday when we hear about children who've committed suicide," said Crain.
Organizers say there is still a long road ahead in the fight against bullying. They hope to eventually work with all schools and come up with strategies to address the problem.