As anti-bully series winds down, school official looks ahead

10:00 am | February 28, 2013

What do a beauty queen, the county sheriff, and a rental agency manager have in common?

Photo by Max HrendaSheriff Chris Mathes takes questions from the students at Unaka Elementary. Mathes said that students repeatedly asked about follow-up actions when reported incidents of bullying go unpunished.

Photo by Max Hrenda
Sheriff Chris Mathes takes questions from the students at Unaka Elementary. Mathes said that students repeatedly asked about follow-up actions when reported incidents of bullying go unpunished.

They want Carter County’s kids to do what they can to stop bullying.

Unaka Elementary was the site of the last in a series of bully awareness presentations, a campaign that began on Jan. 28.
Carter County Board of Education Member Rusty Barnett, who conceived the idea for the program, said the presentations have been well-received throughout the community.

“We’ve had good community support,” Barnett said. “We’re excited about it and are trying to keep it going.”

While the program was designed to address the issue of bullying, Barnett added that he wanted parents to know that it is also a concern of the school board.

“We want to make sure parents can go to work and not have to worry about their kids being harmed at school,” Barnett said. “Hopefully this can be a good starting point.”

The program featured several key speakers, including Miss Watauga Valley Brittany Kyte. Kyte, who tried to convey her own experiences being bullied to every school she visited, said that her campaign didn’t stop when the assemblies ended.

“We’ve had so many people that have contacted me, wanting more encouragement or asking more questions,” Kyte said. “Once the students realize they have control in the situation, we can get rid of it altogether.”

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