Shelby County Schools to host anti-bullying forum at Pelham High School

Two women who have been victims of school bullying will be the keynote speakers at a special public forum March 11 at 7 p.m. in the Pelham High School auditorium.

The two featured speakers, Tina Meier and Jessica Brookshire, will discuss the subject after suffering first-hand from bullying.

Meier’s 13-year-old daughter, Megan, committed suicide after being the victim of a cyber-bullying incident that made national headlines. Meier’s daughter had been corresponding through a social networking site with a person she believed to be a 16-year-old boy, and became distraught and hung herself in her bedroom closet after hateful and derogatory messages about her were disseminated.

After her daughter’s death, Meier discovered the 16-year-old boy never existed and that the messages had been sent from a fictitious social networking profile created by an adult neighbor, the neighbor’s 13-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old woman.

Brookshire is the reigning 2010 Miss Fountain City and will compete in the Miss Alabama pageant in June. She is a graduate of Auburn University and is currently pursuing her master’s degree. Her platform is K.A.R.M.A (Kids Against Ridicule Meanness and Aggression), which seeks to end bullying in school-aged children.

“As a victim of bullying, I spent most of my childhood seeking ways to avoid the ridicule I faced at school,” Brookshire said. “I made friends with the right crowd and wore the right clothes, but for some reason I was still the target of teasing. I begged my mom to let me skip school, but the pain I felt did not go away. Today’s children need to realize that once all is said and done, they will only have each other to depend on. I want to reinforce the notion that when you tear a classmate down, you are breaking down your future.”

For more information, contact Shelby County Schools Student Services Coordinator Donna Dickson at 682-7044.