Stand for the Silent Renews Push for Schools Across Nation to Take a Stand Against Bullying

Stand for Silent

An Oklahoma-based nonprofit organization with national reach is renewing its push for American communities to combat bullying and prevent child and teen suicide. The organization, Stand for the Silent (SFTS), has recently reinvigorated its nearly 15-year-long effort by introducing a new tool for parents and schools; a curriculum designed to educate K-12 children about the various forms bullying can take, as well as its harmful effects. The curriculum, which comprises five engaging lesson plans and a reference book for teachers, is available for download at no cost.

But the curriculum is just the latest salvo in Stand for the Silent’s ongoing and multi-faceted campaign to make bullying a thing of the past. Since the organization’s inception in 2010, it has engaged in a series of high-profile programs and aggressive initiatives designed to forward this admirable cause.

Speeches and Presentations

 Stand for the Silent has dispatched representatives around the USA to make educational presentations in thousands of schools, community centers, and churches about the tragically prevalent issue of school bullying. Each presentation begins with the history of Stand for the Silent and features five empty chairs on stage representing children lost to bullying-related suicide. The audience then hears stories from the perspectives of the deceased children and their parents, often culminating with the story of Ty Smalley, the departed son of the organization’s founders and inspiration for its founding. This powerful narrative helps students develop empathy and understand the terrible, life-and-death consequences of bullying. At the end of each event, students read aloud a pledge written by SFTS and those who commit to change their behavior for the better sign formal pledge cards. These speeches and presentations are meant to inspire schools to start Stand for the Silent satellite chapters, ensuring a lasting commitment to fighting bullying locally.

A Nationwide Network of Chapters

The formation of Stand for the Silent chapters at schools all over the nation is an important component of the organization’s core mission. Each satellite chapter is composed of students who wish to foster a culture of kindness and respect within their own hallways and classrooms.

To form a chapter, students must follow a series of steps, starting with signing pledge cards and finding an adult sponsor. They then elect officers, establish a name and mission statement, and decide on meeting times and formalities. During these meetings, members discuss ways to spread the Stand for the Silent message, some of which include organizing fundraisers and developing anti-bullying initiatives like skits and peer mediation programs. SFTS chapters play a vital role in sustaining the momentum of the parent organization’s efforts, entreating students to lead the charge against bullying in their own backyards.

Cyber-Bullying Prevention Program

In response to the rising dangers of cyberbullying, Stand for the Silent developed the Social Bullets Program. This initiative is meant to provide education about cyberbullying and prevent it from happening wherever possible, and features resources like the Social Bullets Video and The Proactive Parent’s Cyberbullying Handbook. The Social Bullets Video visually replicates a twenty-four-hour period on social media, uncomfortably highlighting the emotionally scarring and often violent consequences of cyberbullying. The handbook is meant to equip parents with information and recommend steps to protect their children from cyberbullying, as well as give guidance on how to start conversations about this sometimes touchy subject.

Scholarship Program 

Stand for the Silent honors students who contribute to anti-bullying efforts through its biannual scholarship program, which began in 2021. The organization awards three types of scholarships to five recipients, each receiving $5,000. The Ty Smalley Memorial Scholarship, named after the founders’ son, recognizes two students who have shown dedication to combating bullying. The Laura Smalley Memorial Scholarship, named in memory of Kirk’s late wife and co-founder of SFTS, is awarded to two students who have demonstrated a commitment to the organization’s mission. The President’s Choice Scholarship is an award given to a student making a significant impact in their own school. These scholarships not only help to fund the academic careers of their student recipients, but they also serve to incentivize continued anti-bullying efforts in youth.

Oklahomans Kirk and Laura Smalley founded Stand for the Silent after their child took his own life due to relentless bullying. The organization offers a wealth of free resources for parents and educators, while the Smalleys have personally traveled across the United States to deliver heartfelt anti-bullying presentations. To date, they have visited over 6,025 schools and spoken with more than 4.15 million students. After Laura Smalley’s unfortunate passing in 2020, Kirk has taken up the mantle as the SFTS’s primary traveling presenter and spokesperson.

Stand for the Silent maintains an official website offering more information on its programs and where inquiries can be made.

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