FORDYCE, Ark – The Fordyce School District is spreading a message of non-violence after video surfaced of a student being bullied in a school locker room.
Staff says the video, which made headlines earlier this year, should be used as a teachable moment for students and staff to stop bullying.
Thursday the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission was welcomed to the small town for a non-violence youth summit.
High Schoolers, middle schoolers and members of the community were in attendance, listening to speeches from speakers in the community.
“It’s a teachable moment as to what happened and what occurred and utilize it as a springboard to do great things and positive things in the future,” said Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission Executive Director Dushun Scarbrough.
Among the speakers were: Fox16 News Anchor Kevin Kelly, longtime Patrol Officer Tommy Norman, and Rapper, Entertainer Romeo Miller.
“Sometimes when [students are] hearing it from us on the inside all the time, it doesn’t have as much of an impact,” said Fordyce High School Principal Chase McCollum.
Miller spoke on the importance of rising above bullying.
“Everybody goes through obstacles but anyone who ever makes it, gets through it, so if you’re going through a hard time, just keep going,” said Miller.
Others spoke about the dangers of bullying and when to step up and report it.
“It’s not cool to just to stream or to videotape but to also take an opportunity to report because we can’t sensationalize every moment that condones violence,” said Scarbrough.
The school district says their hope is students will take the message to heart and be part of the solution to a growing program.
“Doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest choice so something that me and my dad always vowed to do was try and be the best versions of ourselves and hopefully that will inspire the next generation,” said Miller.
School staff says the assembly was just the beginning. Fordyce High School Principal McCullom says there are talks about adding an extra advising period for students to speak up about bullying and the possibility of adding anti-bullying training programs for teachers.