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Oklahoma students urged to take stand against bullying

Teen speaking at a rally the Oklahoma Capitol tells of suicide attempts because of harassment by bullies.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: May 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm •  Published: May 21, 2013
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An Oklahoma teen who said he tried to commit suicide three times because he was bullied challenged participants at a statewide rally Monday to take a stand against bullying.

“I'm a survivor,” Kevin Merriman, 15, said during the third annual state Capitol rally against bullying.

Merriman, a McLoud High School freshman, said he has been bullied since he was in kindergarten but learned the value of having friends who stood behind him.

“One person can't do it alone,” he said. “If a bully's going to fight one of us, he's going to have to fight all of us.”

Reps. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, and Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, told about 125 people attending the rally, most of them students, that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Mongo Allen, former principal at SeeWorth Academy, an Oklahoma City alternative charter school, said bullying is a growing problem because bullies can harass students on social media in addition to the classroom.

“Bullying is one of the most terrible things that can happen to you,” Allen said. “Silence will hurt you.”

Allen, an author and film writer, said Goliath in the Bible was one of the earliest bullies, but David was able to defeat him with a well-placed stone. Just as David grabbed five stones because he didn't know how many he would need, students should remember they have five groups of people who can help them deal with bullies: parents, counselors, teachers, principals and police officers or others in authority.

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