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Bully-A-Day: December 31

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Staff Reports

Sylvester – Today’s story also comes to us from Worth County.  To readers, it may seem like much of this is a Worth County issue, but that isn’t necessarily the case.  Right now, many of these stories are coming from Worth County because significant attention has been directed toward bullying in Worth County following the death of Dustin Hammonds.  However, sometimes the story comes from a place, but happened elsewhere.

This story comes to us from a young lady named Chasity Smith.  She was the victim of bullying herself in the Dougherty County School System.  This young lady decided to not stand for it any longer.  Unfortunately, she reports that she was treated like the problem.

My name is Chasity Smith, I live in Worth County, and I am 20 years old. I was Dustin’s age when I was bullied, and it is not surprising to me that this is still going on.

I was attending school at Radium Springs Middle Magnet School of the Arts, I was in 7th grade, and I was bullied for being white and for also being in drama club. A girl, named Andrea, who lived in my neighborhood had another friend named Brittany, they were both mixed, black and white, and they always walked the neighborhood with older boys.

The day it began, I was walking to the park with my friend Tiffany, who was also white, and when we got there 2 of the older boys were sitting on the park bench, and we decided to hang out by the swings. One of the boys had walked over, who was black, and asked Tiffany if she had a boyfriend, she said no but that she wasn’t interested in one either, the conversation continued and before long Tiffany was uncomfortable and ready to leave, and we did.

As we were leaving they boys followed us out some 10 yards behind, but walked the opposite direction. Tiffany and I decided to walk to a clearing in the woods, for no reason in particular. As it turned out the boy that had talked to Tiffany had a girlfriend, Brittany, and Brittany and Andrea came out from another side of the clearing with four boys, two of them from the park! And they tried to fight Tiffany but she ran. I was terrified, I had no where to go and here are six people I didn’t even know looking at me like I had done something.

They started hitting me, the girls, and I fought back. I fought the two of them with all my might, but Andrea was a bigger girl, and was able to bring me down. When I was down, the boys proceeded to kick me, and as they were striking my ribs and stomach,I saw a small white truck pull into the clearing and everyone scattered. It was 3 of my older male cousins, Tiffany had run for help.

Everyday after that, being in school with Andrea, who was in my same grade, was a nightmare. She had told everyone at school how she had beat me up and they would laugh, she would call me out in front of other students and basically taunt me every time I was near.

I remember once when I had drama rehearsal during school hours, and I had woken up 2 hours early for school to prepare, because we were encouraged to dress in our best for rehearsals. I had done my makeup and hair, wore my best outfit, and was walking to the bus stop at 7 a.m. when Andrea’s mother’s vehicle came barreling around the corner, before I could jump back or even realize what was happening, the vehicle swerved over to a mud puddle and sprayed me completely, my books and all.

I was so embarrassed because everyone at the bus stop had saw what happened. I just turned around and walked home crying. My outfit was ruined, my hair and makeup ruined, my confidence, also, ruined.

My mother was outraged. She went to the school, and because these incidents didn’t happen at school (which it was, only not physically) there was nothing they could do except call her and her mother for a meeting which I did not attend. My mother and I were assured that I would not be bothered by her anymore, and I trusted that.

Then one morning at breakfast in the cafeteria, on St. Patrick’s Day, I wasn’t wearing green, Andrea came out of nowhere from behind and pinched me so hard on my arm, it immediately began to bruise. At that point, I had had  enough, I went to the office and called my mom. The principal and his staff had done well to keep us apart for the rest of the year.

My eighth grade year, I was transferred to Worth County, and kids were also being bullied, but the school was unable to do anything without evidence. With my past experiences I had decided I wouldn’t stand for bullying. If I saw it happening, I confronted the bully, I stood up for other kids because I never wanted anyone to feel the way I felt, I only wish someone would have stood up for me. I received 22 referrals that year for being in shouting matches with kids that were bullying other kids, all were written out as if I were the aggressor. That’s how Worth County deals with bullying.

My objective is to get kids to speak out. If you are being bullied, or see someone being bullied, tell someone, speak out, you could save someones life! My condolences go out to Dustin Hammonds and his family, his parents must have taught him well enough to turn the other cheek, because he was too sweet and forgiving to fight back.

Please, if you have a story to share, please email us at ajournal@thealbanyjournal.com and let us know.

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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