School board member says it’s time to take stand against bullying

10:00 am | January 29, 2013

Before starting the assembly at Hunter Elementary Monday morning, Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes wanted to make sure the children were paying attention.

Photo by Max HrendaRusty Barnett thanks the children of Hunter Elementary for listening during the bully awareness assembly Monday morning. Earlier, Sheriff Chris Mathes (left)  asked the students to pledge to do what they could to stop bullying.

Photo by Max Hrenda
Rusty Barnett thanks the children of Hunter Elementary for listening during the bully awareness assembly Monday morning. Earlier, Sheriff Chris Mathes (left) asked the students to pledge to do what they could to stop bullying.

So he asked them to stand up.

Then he asked them to sit.

Then stand.

Then sit.

Then stand.

“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.”

Photo by Max HrendaMiss Watauga Valley Brittany Kyte tells the children about her own experiences with bullying during the assembly. Her  anti-bullying program, 'Stand Up,' is her community service project as part of the Miss Tennessee pageant.

Photo by Max Hrenda
Miss Watauga Valley Brittany Kyte tells the children about her own experiences with bullying during the assembly.

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.”

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