Educator returns to Chilton County to discuss bullying

By Alan Collins

JEMISON, AL (WBRC) - Students at Jemison High School listened to ways to cope with bullying on Thursday morning. This comes three months after 15-year-old Alex Moore committed suicide by jumping from a bridge overpass on to I-65.  "It was really hurtful to us to that something like that at our school would happen," Emily Hand, a senior at Jemison High School said.

Classmates of Alex gathered at her school to learn more about an anti-bullying program.  Jay Banks from Maryland is an educator and entertainer. Banks has created a program called "Stamp Out Bullying." "The research is pretty compelling. If you raise awareness of and have a bullying program you can reduce it from 15 to 80 percent. The difference is teacher involvement," Banks said.

Banks told the students STAMP is an acronym:

S stands for stay away from bullies.

T stands for tell someone

A means avoid bad situations

M means make friends

P asks students to project confidence   

In the audience watching Banks for the very first time, were the parents of Alex Moore. The Moores have been pushing the Chilton County Board of Education to do more to combat bullying. "We don't want our daughter's passing to be in vain. We want something good to come from her life. We are doing everything we can to do something positive in that light. We taught her forgiveness. We are operating in that light," Jim Moore, Alex's father said.

While folks here at Jemison High School will never get over Alex's death, they are hoping that tragedy will send a powerful message to prevent that it from happening again."I think it's going to have a positive impact on all of the schools in our county. I'm hoping students will feel more comfortable telling councilors about the problems they are having." Donna Smith, a councilor for the Chilton Co. Board of Education said. Smith hopes to communicate with the county schools about the problem and how to cope with it.

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