How elementary school kids experience bullying

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, talks about how bullying affects kids in elementary school and the impact it has as they grow older
How Kids Experience Bullying in Elementary School
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How elementary school kids experience bullying

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You know, when I do presentations and it's in elementary schools, I notice quite a bit of difference. For kids who are in kindergarten to about 3rd grade, when you ask them and when we talk about bullying, we really separate it because the word bullying has been used so much that if they didn't get the right color crayon, they feel that they've been bullied. So we're using it in the wrong context. But when I ask them how do you feel if you've been left out, or they don't want to sit next to you, or they don't like you. So we talk in those terms of how does it make you feel? And these children will say, it makes them feel sad. It hurts their feelings. They feel that no one likes them. Children have used the terms of feeling hollow, feeling that there's no place left in the world for me. I mean, these are very sad feelings that they feel. And then when I ask the same questions to children in 4th and 5th grade, these children are now angry. They're mad. You've got me, and I'm going to get you back. So it really has changed quite a bit, where it turns to sad and feelings to now I'm angry. Now you've done this to me and you're going to get this back in return. So it definitely changes. Even in elementary school it escalates quite a bit.

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, talks about how bullying affects kids in elementary school and the impact it has as they grow older

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Tina Meier

Executive Director

Tina Meier is an internationally recognized expert on bullying, cyberbullying, internet safety, conflict resolution, the roles of parents and educators, sexting, and suicide awareness and prevention.

On October 16, 2006, Tina Meier’s life took a devastating turn when her 13 year old daughter, Megan Taylor Meier, took her own life. All attempts were made to save Megan, but unfortunately Megan passed away on October 17, 2006, just weeks from her 14th birthday.

Approximately 5 weeks prior to her passing, a 16 year old boy by the name of Josh Evans, contacted Megan through her MySpace account and they began a friendship. Tina Meier, allowed Megan to have a MySpace account with many restrictions and under her watchful eye.  Unfortunately, on that fateful day of October 16, 2006, Josh Evans and Megan began to have an argument over MySpace.  A few others joined in and horrible and hurtful messages and bulletins went out publicly to hundreds of kids. The last words that were said to Megan from Josh were, “The world would be a better place without you” and “Have a shi**y rest of your life.”

Six weeks after Megan’s suicide, Tina Meier was informed that Josh Evans never existed. In fact, he was the fictitious creation of Lori Drew, an adult neighbor that lived down the street, her 13-year-old daughter Sarah, which was Megan’s former friend, and an 18-year-old employee that worked out of Lori Drew’s home.

In December of 2007, Tina Meier, founded the 501 (c)(3) non-profit Megan Meier Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to “create awareness, education and promote positive change to children, parents and educators in response to the ongoing bullying and cyberbullying in our children’s daily environment.” Tina’s hope is to make a difference through spreading Megan’s story, create awarness regarding internet safety, and educate others on the consequences of bullying and cyberbullying. She hopes to help one child at a time cope with these negative social issues. Ultimately, her goal is to empower children to be the change and continue the Foundation’s mission.

At the time of this tragedy, the State of Missouri did not have laws in place to prosecute someone using electronic communications to cyberbully another person. Tina worked closely with Senator Scott Rupp and Governor Matt Blunt’s Internet Task Force for the State of Missouri to help pass Senate Bill 818, which went into law on August 28, 2008. This law amended the harassment and stalking laws to include electronic communication.

Each year, Tina travels throughout the country as a keynote speaker addressing the issue of bullying and cyberbullying in today’s world to students, educators, administrators, parents, youth rallies, counselors, law enforcement, and other professionals. Through Tina’s inspirational and educational message, the audience is empowered to make a difference not only for themselves, but others also.

Tina has continued to spread the Foundation’s message and Megan’s story through national and international media appearances such as network television stations, radio, news shows, magazines and syndicated talk shows. She also accepted a Presidential invitation to attend the 2011 White House Anti-Bullying Conference, presented at the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools National Conference in Washington, DC, and served as a consultant during the production of the ABC Family movie, Cyberbully.

Tina Meier resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with her daughter Allison. 

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