Community coalition facilitates conversations about cyberbullying
BOONE COUNTY —
The Youth Community Coalition is having discussions with parents, teachers, and other leaders in communities across Boone County to find out what issues area kids are facing.
Coordinator Ron Rowe said bullying and cyberbullying have been identified by many adults as issues they want to address in their communities.
"Bullying was up there and it just made sense over the past year as we've been doing more organizing to bring some programming in to talk about that with the different communities," he said.
With the help of adult leaders, the Youth Community Coalition helps to bring together local agencies to provide programming each individual community finds valuable. Recently, the Hallsville School District brought in Tina Meier with the help of the coalition.
Meier lost her daughter Megan to suicide in 2006. Meier started the Megan Meier Foundation with a vision of stopping bullying and cyberbullying. Tina travels around sharing her story. She tries to help adults understand what their kids are going through.
Rowe said in the few days he spent with Meier taking her to different districts in the area, he learned a lot about cyberbullying.
"A child's need to belong, to feel belonging to their peers in particular, is really disrupted by a cyber bullying attack," he said. "That sense of [belonging] is so important for youth. It's almost like as needed as food and shelter and clothing, so when one person becomes 20, becomes 30, even if they don't know who they are, that child is not able to process that in the same way that an adult can."
Rowe said he is hopeful about the future based on the work he is seeing go on in the community.
"I think bringing it to light, bringing in someone like Tina Meier, start the conversation, have that many more people talking about it than were before last week, and figuring out together how we want to address it," he said.