In the last ten years, technology has created a new hiding place for bullies called cyber space. Now, one mom is hoping her story will be a call for action to end bullying.
Missouri mom Tina Meier spoke at a bullying and cyberbullying workshop Friday afternoon in Quincy. Meier’s daughter, Megan, took her own life in October 2006 after being bullied online. She was 13 years old.
“My daughter, Megan, took her own life because she was on MySpace and an adult neighbor pretended to be a boy,” Meier said.
From that tragedy, Meier realized she couldn’t change the past, but she couldn’t keep quiet about it either.
“It’s public, private,” Meier said. “It’s suburban, rural. It’s everywhere.”
Bullying is even found in Tri-State schools. Mike Llewellyn is the director of guidance at Quincy Senior High School and says he deals with potential cyber-bullying cases almost daily.
“With smart phones and everything else, it’s important that we look at that aspect too,” Llewellyn said.
Meier says kids aren’t going to stop texting or using social media sites, but school officials and parents can work with students to see where harmful messages are coming from.
“One of the things that I’m learning here today are some keys to work with kids, to work with parents, to better educate what it really means to be a bully or what it really means to cyberbully,” Llewellyn said.
Meier says she’ll continue to share her story in hopes of preventing future tragedies.
“It’s absolutely a mission,” Meier said. “It’s something that drives me every single day and I will do this for the rest of my life.”
The day-long workshop was called “Bullying & Cyberbullying: Together We Can Make a Difference.” The workshop was co-sponsored by Blessing Hospital, the Blessing Behavioral Center and the Mental Health Authority of West Central Illinois.