OKLAHOMA CITY – “Told me that I was fat, and I was ugly and that I didn’t have a reason to be living,” said Abigail Siglin.
Hurtful words that turned into threats and physical altercations by a girl at Siglin’s school. She was just one of several speakers at an interim study by Senator Rob Standridge, republican district 15.
“I would direct you to social media and look at how our adults are behaving. It’s despicable in my opinion, and we have got to change that as a culture or we’re going to destroy our kids in my opinion,” Standridge said.
The Oklahoma Youth Risk Behavior Survey found 40,000 high school students said they were bullied at school – although only around 4,700 cases of bullying by a student were reported to the State Department of Education.
Thousands of students said they’ve planned suicide.
With tears streaming down their faces, some of those affected were brave enough to speak out Tuesday.
“When you see this many kids going to this many desperate measures and when you look out on social media, you can see the hatred boiling. Hate is the root of all of us this. This is a massive problem,” Standridge said.
Standridge is hoping to introduce legislation and is using the study to help nail down what would be most effective.
“I think all of those that impact our kids should behave in that manner, a level above. That can be legislated because you either behave that way or you don’t work in a position that influences children,” Standridge said.
Others shared their ideas like giving more time for teachers to plan their classes to decreasing class size.
“I think part of the solution needs to be smaller classroom sizes. I think in public school they’re overcrowded, and kids are feeling left out,” parent Becky Potter said.
Many of the parents and children who spoke have turned to online charter schools.