Bullies not welcomePublished 9:51am Monday, October 29, 2012
When Albert Lean Taylor McCullough was in seventh grade, someone began calling him names.
Making fun of the way he dressed, bullying accelerated to the point that McCullough transferred school districts from Albert Lea to the Alden-Conger.
“It made me feel bad,” McCullough said. “But I got through it.”
Now, a 16-year-old at Alden-Conger High School, McCullough is taking a stand against bullying.
“I don’t want anyone else to go through it,” he said.
On Sunday, with the help of a few adults, he organized an anti-bullying walk at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds as part of Campaign for Kindness. About two dozen people attended.
The group walked around the fairgrounds and then met back at the Fairlane Building for hot dogs and other refreshments, along with a brief program and a drawing.
KaLynn Johnson, a freshman at Riverland Community College, talked about her battle with bullying at United South Central school.
She said she was bullied about her height and weight and ultimately ended up with a sprained wrist after someone pushed her. She transferred to Blue Earth Area.
“Bullying affects not only young people but adults as well,” said Savile Lord, another organizer. “Words can have such a dramatic effect on how people view themselves. It’s really a national epidemic that needs attention.”
The event was also sponsored by the newly organized Choose Civility Campaign in Freeborn County, which encourages people to be courteous and polite to each other, both at home and at work.
McCullough said it was his hope with the money raised Sunday to take a trip to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress about the negative effects of bullying and to create programs to prevent bullying.
He said he also hopes to organize another walk next May.
Can you read the signs?
Signs a person is being bullied:
• Unexplainable injuries.
• Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry.
• Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness.
• Changes in eating habits, including skipping meals or binge eating.
• Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares.
• Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, not wanting to go to school.
• Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations.
• Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem.
• Self-destructive behavior such as running away from home, harming themselves or talking about suicide.
— Information from Campaign for Kindness