A student and a teacher at Marysville High School are working together to Stand for the Silent.
Sally Andrews, who teaches health tech in the Ohio-Hi Point Career Center program, and Tricia McDaniel, a junior at the high school, are organizing an anti-bullying group under the national Stand for the Silent movement.
Andrews said she took on the project when McDaniel told her about the group. McDaniel learned about it from her mother.
"My sister and I were talking one day about how we wanted to start something at school to help people out. My mom said, 'Hey, there's this group you should check it out,' " McDaniel said.
She looked up the group and talked to Andrews about starting a Stand for the Silent chapter at Marysville.
Andrews encouraged McDaniel to talk to Principal Aaron Cook, who agreed to let her develop the club.
"He was very much in favor of it once she explained it to him," Andrews said.
Stand for the Silent, a nonprofit organization, began in Oklahoma in 2010 when students from the Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Upward Bound Chapter were inspired by the tragic story of 11-year-old Ty Field-Smalley of Perkins, Okla. Smalley was small for his age and was bullied for two years before he retaliated against the student behind the attacks. After Smalley was suspended from school for his actions, he committed suicide.
The university students created Stand for the Silent. It is now a platform for Smalley's parents, Kirk and Laura, to share their story and try to keep other kids from becoming victims of bullying. The Smalleys have talked to more than 797,000 students across the country in an effort to stop bullying.
The Marysville chapter will be the fifth in Ohio. There also are chapters in Cincinnati, Covington, Elyria and Lima.
McDaniel said she and her sister don't see much physical bullying at school but constantly witness cyberbullying.
"It's really easy to have access to it. You're not facing someone at school," she said.
Stopbullying.gov, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, says cyberbullying includes "mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites or fake profiles."
The first meeting for the Stand for the Silent club drew just five students, but interest is growing.
"We had another meeting last Monday (Feb. 17) and had seven students. We're hoping to grow more," Andrews said.
Andrews said there are three goals for the chapter. The most immediate is to become informed about various aspects of bullying, including cyberbullying, how the school district addresses bullying and how police handle bullying.
The second goal will be to educate students at the high school, which is the main purpose of the group. Andrews said they will work on various ways to get information to students, including signs, morning announcements and other ideas to get kids involved.
Finally, the group would like the Smalleys to visit Marysville and speak to students about the dangers of bullying.
"We're all different. We're all human beings, and we all have the right to be respected," Andrews said.
McDaniel said she just wants to help people.
"I hope it keeps people from being separated and, really, people need to learn to show compassion," she said. "Eventually, I want younger kids to not have to go through bullying at all."