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Dad travels the world to end bullying
They're stories we hear far too often. Teenagers taking their own lives because of bullying.
But one father, whose son took his own life, is on a mission to end this tragic cycle. He travels around the world talking with students. He was in Grand Island Tuesday spreading his mission.
They're read one by one - stories of lives gone too soon. All are victims of bullying. But one man is on a mission to change that.
"It's happening way too frequently right now in this world. We're losing kids at a really alarming rate," said Kirk Smalley.
Kirk Smalley's son Ty took his own life after being suspended from school for retaliating against a bully who had been bullying him for over two years.
"We tell about the day Ty took his own life 3 or 4 or 5 times a day sometimes and it's reliving that day every single day, every single time," Smalley said.
Ty was just 11-years-old. His biggest dream was going elk hunting with his father in Wyoming when he turned 12.
But 896 days ago, all those dreams changed. His father now spends his days talking with students.
"Just make them stop and think before they use those hurtful words or actions," said Smalley.
In a packed gym at Grand Island Central Catholic, all eyes are on Kirk.
"We've actually spoken to a little over 628,000 kids now in the last year and a half alone. It's the kids themselves that are passionate about stopping this and they're the ones who are spreading our message," said Smalley.
That's exactly why Joseph O'Connor wanted Kirk to come speak at his school.
"I think everybody has their own experiences with something negative going on with someone else, whether it's bullying or some kind of conflict, and this just kind of focuses on, it doesn't really need to be, you don't really need to have that in your life," said O'Connor.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people. And students like Joseph, don't want to see that happen to any of his classmates.
"We're in some of the best years of your lives and we shouldn't be spending these years making enemies and making others feel bad. It's not really what high school is all about," said O'Connor.
That Stand For The Silent movement started after a group of students from Oklahoma State University heard about Ty's story.
Kirk and his wife are tired of hearing those stories. They just want the bullying to stop.
"Every time we hear about another child lost to bullying, it's like that day all over again," said Smalley. "We just got to make it stop." News 5.
Experts say when it comes to being bullied stay focused on your child and not the bully.
To learn more about Smalley's mission, you can visit the website http://www.standforthesilent.org/index.php.
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