Blog

What I Learned from Facebook’s “On This Day” Reminders

Facebook’s “On This Day” feature greets me most mornings with happy memories. I see my most favorite people smiling on family vacations, treasured holidays, and the tiniest moments are all gathered together to remind me of my beautiful life. I see best friends and friends I haven’t seen for far too long. I am startled by how quickly the days with my daughter have passed by and I think back to all that my husband and I have endured and celebrated. And, oh, how I miss so many sweet faces that are no longer in this world. Like so many people, I believe in focusing on the positive. It’s a choice to see what is possible and good and right and I hope to always look there first. I also know that my life, and yours, is more complicated than our social media feeds disclose. Experience confirms for us that our lives wouldn’t be as full if we didn’t also know sadness, disappointment, loss, and betrayal. It is on those days that I seek out my favorite Gary Allen song: Life ain’t always beautiful Sometimes it’s just plain hard Life can knock you down It can break your heart. You think you’re on your way And it’s just a dead end road At the end of the day. But the struggles make you stronger And the changes make you wise And happiness has it’s own way Of taking it’s own sweet time. Lately, Facebook’s “On this Day” takes me back to those days that knocked me down and where we were the deepest in our bullying fight. It is...

The Challenges We Still Face

While much progress has been made, I still remember the challenges my family and I faced when I was bullied. The stories I hear six years later sound much like my own. Too many students feel like no one hears them, no one believes them and that all too often, no one helps them. When we don’t see bullying being addressed in our schools, on the ball fields or at home, we are not likely to ask for help. When we see teachers being unkind to students, we don’t see them as a safe place to go and when we are punished for standing up to a bully who retaliates against us, we choose to remain a bystander. Privacy laws support those beliefs because schools are restricted from sharing information about how they address bullying incidents. When the bullying continues, the victim feels like nothing has been done when in fact much may have been. There are schools who use “in loco parentis” as a way to keep parents out of meetings when their child is being questioned. Pressure to keep bullying reports down or frustration about the time involved to complete required paperwork can cause school leaders to dismiss the severity of a student’s complaint. “In loco parentis” may claim school personnel are representing the child in place of the parent, but I believe they have competing responsibilities. Parents should never take no for an answer and should request copies of policies to prove schools have the authority to restrict their involvement. I remember a teacher telling me that she didn’t report bullying incidents for fear of losing...

Collier Named First Texas Roadhouse/Guess Foundation Kind Student of the Month

The Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation and Texas Roadhouse have teamed up to recognize kind students in Paducah and McCracken County. Each month a student will be featured as the Kind Student of the Month and their good deeds will be rewarded with a poster of them being hung in the lobby of Texas Roadhouse. The restaurant will also offer a free lunch at the restaurant for the student and his or her classmates from their homeroom. Bobby Collier, a student at Lone Oak Intermediate School, is the first student to be recognized. He is the son of Jay and Sara Collier. Lone Oak Intermediate School teacher Kelly Smith offered high praise for Bobby. “He is an all-around kind kid. He doesn’t exclude anyone from any group. He is friendly to everyone. He is a hard worker and always has a positive attitude. If someone is having trouble, teachers and students alike know they can count on Bobby to help. If someone doesn’t have a friend, he’s willing to step in. We are proud of Bobby and the example he sets for all of us.” Joelle Long and her husband Ryan, owners of Paducah’s Texas Roadhouse, says their company is committed to the communities they serve. We believe our family is every member of our community and we want to do our part to build an even kinder Paducah,” said Joelle. “We are thrilled to recognize students who inspire all of us to be better people.” Morgan Guess, a Lone Oak Middle Schooler who started her own anti-bullying foundation with her mother after being bullied, said she believes a focus on...

I’m Counting on All of Us in 2017!

It’s a new year and a new opportunity for all of us to be our best and to do our best. After an election that left both sides tired and struggling to see what is ahead, I hope all Americans see 2017 as a time to begin again. At 14, I watch what is happening around me but I have decided not to worry. Our history tells me that this country and its citizens are bigger than any one person, any tragedy, or any event. We are a people who have withstood injustice and ignorance. We are a country who has shown the world over and over again that we are good, and fair, and that we fight for what is right and for those who don’t have a voice. Even as a young person, I see the violence and the hate and I cannot ignore what I see. I can’t stand silent to students being brutalized in schools or people being killed in our streets and I won’t turn my head to people in need. But, I also won’t let fear get in the way of me doing my part to be a part of a better country and a braver world. I am going to wake up every morning with a focus on being kind and looking for a way to help someone, anyone have a better day. I am not counting on someone else to make my community or America better. Instead, I am counting on every one of us. I am challenging you to look for the good in the people around you. I am...