By Max Hrenda
Before starting the assembly at Hunter Elementary Monday morning, Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes wanted to make sure the children were paying attention.
So he asked them to stand up.
Then he asked them to sit.
“Good,” Mathes said. “Now I know that you’re listening.”
They were, along with assorted members of county government, the sheriff’s department, the Carter County Board of Education, and the Elizabethton Fire Department, as Mathes introduced speakers at the first of 11 scheduled assemblies aimed at “bully awareness.”
The issue of bullying is emerging on the national stage as one of the predominant problems schoolchildren face every day. Mathes said addressing it early, when children are still young, may prove to be a useful deterrent to dangerous situations.
“The worst consequences of bullying are what you see at Columbine and Sandy Hook,” Mathes said. “It doesn’t get worse than those types of situations. Instead of trying to fix those, we want to try to do the work early on.”