WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- We want you to get involved with a conversation happening right now across America and right here in the Triad. We're talking about bullying, it's impact, how to spot it and stop it.
We asked Keshawn East, a junior at West Forsyth High School to join us for this conversation, because he's been bullied and found a way to stop it.
"When I first moved here I wasn't very well liked, I tried to make friends and I was the nerd of the class so when I tried to make friends I got bullied for it," said East. "I went to the guidance counselors and they really helped me. They showed me how to talk to the bullies and let them know that I wanted to be their friends, so that's exactly what I did and I got positive feedback. So I friended the bullies and worked my way from there."
East while that strategy worked for him, it doesn't work for everyone. He offered this advice to other students who are getting bullied.
"I would tell other students who get bullied that they're not alone in the world and people get bullied all the time. I would tell them to stay strong and find someone who you trust to talk to about these things. Parents are a major deal on this. They will help you no matter what," said East.
Kathie Fitzjefferies is the Safe and Drug Free Schools Program Manager for Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools. She says there are ways to help kids and it starts with the bystanders who watch bullying happen and don't say anything.
"Eighty-eight percent of all bullying takes place in the audience of other children and what people don't realize is that bystanders can really make a difference in stopping the bullying behavior that's happening with our children," said Fitzjefferies.
Fitzjefferies says 20% of students will step up and say something and help the person who is being targeted.
"If more of those students stepped up, we could stop at least 50% of bullying," she added. Fitzjefferies also offered these tips for parents.
1. Keep open communication with your children. Know the signs and symptoms and do some roll playing if they're comfortable with that to prepare them for conflicts like that.
2. Keep open communication with your child's school. If you have concerns talk with the schools and if there are any threats being made against your child report that to the police or SROs (student resource officers) because the school system take those reports seriously.
If you need help standing up to a bully or want to report a problem at school call the Winston-Salem Bully Patrol Hotline number. It's 336-703-4193.
You can also attend the 7th annual WSFCS Stand Up / Step Up School and Community Rally against Bullying this Saturday, October 14, 2017 at BB&T Stadium in Winston-Salem. You can hear special presentations, performances and take part in the walk from 8 a.m. to Noon.