October is National Bullying Prevention Month. In recognition, we wanted parents and students to be aware of this epidemic of harassment that plagues not just children, but people of all ages. Closer to home, there is an instance of bullying taking place in our own backyard.
18-year-old Shea Shawhan is a beautiful young woman with a bright smile. You wouldn’t know it, but every day Shea puts on a brave face before unknown tormentors at Plano West Senior High School, where she is a junior.
Shea is a victim of bullying in her school because of her special needs. Students using a service that masks their identities and contact information have been sending appalling, harrassing, and insulting text messages because she has a condition that causes seizures.
Shea’s mother, Keri Riddell, has stepped in and has begun joining Shea at the lunch table at school in an effort to provide whatever protection she can for her daughter. She has also launched a Facebook page, ImWithShea, to take a stand against the bullying.
What can you do to stop bullying? If you see it happening, Producer John eloquently said, “Stand up, don’t stand by.” If you see someone being targeted by bullies, speak up, tell someone in authority, do something to stop it.
Parents, be involved in your children’s lives. Check their phones and social media profiles for signs that they are a victim or might be the one sending out bullying messages.