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Who We Honor
At the beginning of each Stand for the Silent school presentation, student leaders read the biographies of bullying victims that have lost their lives to suicide as submitted by their families. Stand for the Silent honors the memory of these kids, and we thank the families for sharing their stories.
Ty was from Perkins, Oklahoma, and he was eleven years old. Ty had a big heart and always had a big smile for everyone. He loved to hunt and help others. Ty was small for his age. Two years of being bullied was just too much for him. He retaliated against the bully and was suspended. We lost Ty on May 13th, 2010.
Brandon Swartwood lived in Coweta, Oklahoma. He loved riding his four wheeler, fishing, camping, and helping on the family farm and family trucking business. His mom always said he was her mechanic that was smart enough to be a rocket scientist. Brandon was bullied for many years by people that never took the time to get to know him. Brandon took his own life to end his pain December 16th, 2000 at the age of 18.
He was always a very creative and enthusiastic young man. he loved the outdoors and was an accomplished hunter and builder! for his sisters 5th birthday austin built her a surprise two story playhouse complete with lights and even a walk out balcony. austin battled bullies the same as way too many other kids. some of his closest friends bullied him to the point that he took his own life to escape it. we lost austin december 18th 2010. his parents Travis and Heidi have made it their mission to stop bullying.
Brianna was from Australia. Bullying happens around the world. Brianna loved fishing, surfing, and she was good at all sports. Bree was bullied by some of her trusted friends on Facebook and Myspace. At the age of 14, Bree took her own life to escape the constant bullying. We lost Breezy April 28th 2010.
Montana was from Texas. At the age of nine, Montana was suspended from school because he retaliated against a bully. He was in the school office waiting for his parents to pick him up, and, after locking himself in the nurses bathroom, he hung himself with his belt. We lost Montana January 21, 2010.
Matt Epling was from Michigan. He was 14 years old. He was voted by his eighth grade classmates to have the best smile, the best personality, and the most likely to become an actor. He was assaulted by the older kids as a part of "welcome to high school." We lost Matt in 2002. His father, Kevin Epling continues to work to bring awareness and stop bullying.
Stand for the Silent was started in 2010 by a group students from the Oklahoma State University- Oklahoma City Upward Bound Chapter after they heard the story of Kirk and Laura Smalley’s son, Ty Field-Smalley. At eleven years-old, Ty took his own life after being suspended from school for retaliating against a bully that had been bullying him for over two years.
Stand for the Silent exists as a platform to allow Kirk and Laura to share their story and offer education and tools that will prevent their tragedy from happening to another child and family. Kirk and Laura’s mission is to continue to change kids’ lives and bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes. Since May 2010, Kirk and Laura Smalley have traveled to hundreds of schools and spoken with more than 809,000 kids. In March 2011, Kirk and Laura met privately with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in The White House prior to attending the first ever White House conference on bullying. Their story is featured in Director Lee Hirsch's feature film, Bully. Kirk and Laura have been invited to a number of conferences on bullying and met with Lady Gaga this spring at the launch of the Born This Way Foundation.
Stand for the Silent has seen unbelievable growth and support. On August 24th, 2010 a silent vigil spanning the globe was organized to honor the victims of bullying related suicide. From the Oklahoma State capitol lawn and twenty other states to Australia, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, Canada and the United Kingdom, gatherers expressed love and respect for those who suffer at the hands of bullies. The message was one of unity but also one supporting the need for legislative change concerning bullying.
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