Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City
News & Events FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/16/2010
CONTACT: Call 945-8623.

Upward Bound Students Launch Anti-Bullying Pledge
Several news outlets recently visited the OSU-Oklahoma City campus to witness the beginning of a local anti-bullying movement. To combat the rise of bullying, OSU-OKC’s Upward Bound students are “standing up for the silent.”
Every summer, students participating in the OSU-OKC Upward Bound program attend a six-week summer session on campus. This year’s focus was an anti-bullying initiative titled “Stand for the Silent.”
Upward Bound is a federally funded TRIO program that aims to assist high school students in achieving a college education. For more information about Upward Bound, contact Moss at (405) 945-8626 or mossv@osuokc.edu.
Below is local news coverage.
Oklahoma Students Pledging to 'Stand for the Silent'

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Students across Oklahoma are taking a pledge to "stand for the silent" and stop bullying.

Their promise to stop bullying follows the death of 11-year-old Ty Field. The Perkins boy committed suicide this year after a long struggle with a school bully.

His dad, Kirk Smalley, is working as much as one man can to bring attention to the problem that's often overlooked.

"I have to make a difference. I promised my son on Father's Day this year I'd stop this from happening to another child," Smalley said.

The student group Upward Bound has also joined the cause against bullying and gathered on Tuesday at Western Heights High School for a program called "Stand for the Silent." They're asking their classmates to make a pledge this school year to stand up against bullies and stop it from happening to others.

On stage were five chairs that each represented students who have taken their lives because of a bully.

"The world is begging for a change. Its children are dying for it. Mine did," Smalley said.

In addition to guest speakers and videos, the group also sold arm bracelets to help promote peace on school campuses. Students in participating schools were asked to sign pledge cards.

The program, only weeks old, is already catching on in 35 other countries.

A silent vigil is planned for August 24 on the lawn of the Oklahoma State Capitol at 7 p.m. The Western Heights School District said it will fill 40 school buses of people to bring to the rally, and they challenge other districts around the state to do the same.



NewsOK: Oklahoma City area students create anti-bullying campaign to honor 11-year-old suicide victim

By Michael Baker

Kirk Smalley stood before a room of 13- to 18-year-olds Wednesday and promised them that they could make a difference.

He assured the young students that they could be heroes.
And, he promised, they could prevent from happening again what happened to Smalley's 11-year-old son, Ty Field, who committed suicide after reportedly being bullied.
"You young people here today, you're his hero and mine," he told the group. "If we all use Ty's name, we tell everybody, we're one large voice ... . Help the ones that are picked on. Be their hero."
Smalley addressed the group because he wanted to thank them for their efforts to prevent bullying in schools. Ty committed suicide on May 13. Since his death, Kirk and Laura Smalley have vowed to try to prevent bullying in schools.
The students in the Upward Bound summer session at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, a college preparation program for first generation college-bound students, had heard of Ty Field's story and the Perkins couple's efforts.
For their service project, the 55 students from Northwest Classen, Putnam City West and Western Heights high schools created the "Stand for the Silent" campaign.
The campaign involves students signing a pledge card and receiving a wristband with the words "I am somebody."
Kirk Smalley was the first to sign a pledge card.
"You're the start of something that will be very big," he told the students. "I love you guys."
A few of the students admitted getting emotional when Smalley addressed the group.
"I knew it would be emotional," said Jourdan Mitchell, 17, a Putnam City West student. "I think it kind of opened our eyes to see someone that is going through this."
A few students said the message really hit home.
David Magness, 14, who will be a freshman at Putnam City West, said he was bullied about four years ago before he moved to the Oklahoma City area.
"It (Stand for the Silent) will help the lives of those that are being bullied," he said.
It's already making a difference, said Cody Huffine, 16, a Western Heights student.
"I'm going to try to help other people whenever they're hurting, or I know that they're down," he said. "Try to reach them, talk to them."
FOX 25 recently visited the OSU-Oklahoma City campus to learn more about Upward Bound’s anti-bullying initiative.
Every summer, Upward Bound students attend a six-week summer session on campus and this year’s focus was on bullying prevention. Upward Bound is a federally funded TRIO program that aims to assist high school students in achieving a college education.
KFOR's stories:
For more information on OSU-OKC’s Upward Bound program, visit www.osuokc.edu/upwardbound/default.aspx.
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