An incident of bullying via social media involving Knoxville-area youths has drawn over 25,000 views; and the community is asking what can be done in this instance and find ways to prevent it from occurring in the future.
A social media post over the weekend shows teenagers recording video at home with insulting messages aimed at another teen; authorities are now investigating this incident, to see if any charges should be lodged against those involved.
Knoxville School District Superintendent Cassi Pearson says this instance is of concern to her and the district staff, whether or not it took place under a school’s direct jurisdiction. She tells KNIA/KRLS News this matter can act as a starting point with parents, teachers, students and others in the community to find ways to counter bullying in all its forms.
“We really believe that there are some things that we might be able to do together to help support parents in helping to teach children to support the school and the community on a larger scale,” Pearson says. “We can talk about bullying and get to kind of the root causes and maybe have a future where bullying isn’t happening here.”
Knoxville Mayor Brian Hatch says those who find themselves the target of bullying or a witness to bullying should understand that help is available, and all they have to do is reach out and ask.
“I want to let everyone know that they have that outlet, to let everyone know that they need to come forward if they’re unfortunate enough to be part of an incident like this, or witness an incident, to please come forward and tell somebody,” Mayor Hatch says.
“Tell someone at the school, tell a community leader, somebody at your church; there are so many people out there that are willing to help and that want to help.”
Superintendent Pearson says it’s also important to remember it’s not just the victims of bullying who need help; those who carry out the bullying may also need support, and the community has to find ways to help them change their behavior.