FAMILY TOUCHED BY BULLYING BRINGS SPEAKER TO WASHINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL
GREEN BAY – A family’s fundraising efforts helped bring an anti-bullying campaign to Washington Middle School eighth-grade students this week.
Students attended a 90-minute talk by Kirk Smalley of Stand for the Silent on Monday. Smalley spoke to students about how his 11-year-old son, Ty Smalley, died by suicide in 2010 and what students can do to help others who are being bullied. The Kirkpatrick family, including 10-year-olds Isabella and Ireland, helped raise $2,500 to bring Smalley to Green Bay.
Tracy Kirkpatrick, the twin’s mother, regularly sets money aside to donate to charity. Her daughters, following Kirkpatrick’s example, began setting aside $10 each from their allowance to put into the charity fund.
The Wilder Elementary students originally wanted to buy Fitbits, but later decided they wanted to raise money to bring Stand for the Silent to Washington, Kirkpatrick said.
“We decided to do a lemonade stand. We sold lemonade, cookies and soda,” Ireland said. The girls also asked their mother to donate the proceeds from a rummage sale to their fund.
The family is passionate about educating others about how harmful bullying can be because the girls’ brother was a victim of bullying, Kirkpatrick said.
The girls chose Washington Middle School because it has dealt with issues of bullying and student misconduct in the past.
“I’m happy they (Stand for the Silent) can come here and talk to the students about bullying and why they shouldn’t do it,” Ireland said.
The family received additional assistance from the Brown County Sheriff’s Department and Allouez Fire Department.
“We’re hoping that it helps kids understand that their words and their actions have effects on other kids,” Kirkpatrick said.
Eighth-grade students were chosen purposefully, Washington Principal Dennis Christensen said.
“As administrators and school teachers we can talk to kids about issues, but my hope is … that these students will help and work with the younger students who look up to them. As the eighth-graders, they are kind of the top of those students. Hopefully, they can help teach the stories and teach the importance of the values that are going to be talked about today,” Christensen said.
The principal is grateful Isabella and Ireland wanted to help at Washington.
“Two individuals are going to make a very positive impact in their community. They saw an opportunity and a need to share the importance that bullying has with them and take it to a grander scale,” he said.