By: Sabrina Ahmed
After losing their son to suicide, a family now campaigns around the country to stop bullying.
Ty Smalley was 11-years-old when he took his own life. It's his story that grabbed the attention of kids at Southeast High School and started a movement throughout LPS to end bullying.
Kirk Smalley brought the students of Southeast High School to their feet, and to tears. He shared the story of his 11–year–old son who committed suicide because he was bullied.
Smalley asked the kids at Lincoln Southeast to take a stand.
"Where we're trying to go with this message is to the kids themselves. Administrators, school personnel, teachers, parents, we can't see everything that happens in the hallways but one of them is going to know about it, they're going to see it. And they can stand up and say, 'You know what, that's not right. That's not how we treat each other. You don't have to be that way,'" Smalley said.
Smalley, who is from Oklahoma, told the students that one in four kids will consider suicidal thoughts before graduating. After hearing what this loving father has to say, it inspired the students to make a difference.
"I think after today it's going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole mot more people who will actually be taking a stand, but we still need to do a lot more, we still need more people," 11-grader Matt McGuire said.
"Today gave me the confidence to know that it's not going to hurt me any to go up and say that to someone and if they say 'no' I can keep talking to them or go get other help, but I think it's important if you see it to stop it there," 10th-grader Elle Hansen said.
Emily Hergenrader met Smalley last year and helped bring him to Lincoln. For her, it's nice to have the whole school on board with this cause.
"Seeing the reaction on all of my friends and students and teachers and counselor and principals faces, them really realizing why we're doing what we're doing, almost makes me start crying now because it's such a huge impact on me to know that now we really aren't by ourselves to stand against something so huge," Hergenrader said.
There was another assembly this afternoon at Lincoln Southwest and there is a community presentation tonight at Southeast.
April 26th is "Stand for the Silent Nebraska Day" and LPS will have events for that as well.