Bullying seminar creates awareness

Counselors said the effects of cyberbullying can last a lifetime.

Jefferson City community leaders held a seminar on the growing problem of bullying.

Family members of Jefferson City Middle School student Eyana White blame bullying for her death. She took her own life on December 17.

Youth Director Pat McBride said, â??When that happened, then we said itâ??s time to do something. We need to come together as a community and see what we can do to stop it.â??

Dozens of people from the Jefferson City community attended the seminar at Jefferson Cityâ??s Second Baptist Church for a question and answer session. Panel members included professional counselors from an organization called Life Song as well as school counselors like Jim Leftwich. Leftwich said most of his students donâ??t want to be a snitch but know when to talk to an adult.

Elementary school counselor Jim Leftwich said, â??Kids at our school definitely let us know when there is bullying going on. Kids leave me notes or they tell me when I greet them when they get off the bus in the morning. They will tell me if something happened on the bus or something happened at home.â??

The internet allows a school yard bully to become a cyber bully. Students use social media to send intimidating or harassing messages. Some Jefferson City students said they would rather be punched in the stomach than be attacked on Facebook.

Counselors said the effects of cyberbullying can last a lifetime.

Professional counselor Erika Barrett said, â??It can lead to anxiety in school, eating disorders and depression. It kind of depends on the kid. Cyberbullying can be detrimental.â??

Seminar organizers said bullying is not just about teachers, parents and students. They say itâ??s going to take the entire Jefferson City community to prevent it.

Organizers said this is the first in a series of bullying awareness seminars.