Couple on Crusade to Stop Bullying to Speak at WWU

Ty Field-Smalley
Ty Field-Smalley

A couple whose 11-year-old son committed suicide after being bullied will be at William Woods University next week to share their heartbreaking story.

Laura and Kirk Smalley
Laura and Kirk Smalley

Kirk and Laura Smalley, anti-bullying advocates and founders of Stand for the Silent, will tell their story at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in Dulany Auditorium. Their presentation is free and open to the public.

Stand for the Silent has reached more than 833,000 students through school and community presentations. Their message, however, is not just for students; they encourage everyone “to stand up to bullying and save lives.”

The organization started in 2010 with a group of high school students in Oklahoma City, after they heard the story of the Smalley’s son, Ty Field-Smalley. Ty, a sixth-grader, took his own life after being suspended from school for retaliating against a bully who had been bullying him for more than two years.

According to the Stand for the Silent website, a new review of studies from 13 countries found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied and suicide. Bullying has become an epidemic of epic proportions. The platforms used to bully (in person, social media, websites and apps) continue to keep growing each and every day.

Kirk Smalley tells his story.
Kirk Smalley tells his story.

Other facts from the Stand for the Silent website:

  • It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
  • Nearly 60 percent of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
  • American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims.

Stand for the Silent brings awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes and the lives it changes in the process. In 2010, the Smalleys met privately with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in the White House prior to attending the first-ever White House conference on bullying.

The Smalleys’ story is featured in the feature film “Bully.” Active Minds at William Woods University, as well as Safe Spaces of Fulton, are bringing the couple to WWU. For more information, contact Jennifer Burton, sponsor, at jennifer.burton@williamwoods.edu or (573) 592-4222.