Stand for the Silent was started in 2010 by a group of students from the Oklahoma State University 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.
In 2012, Kirk Smalley visited students at Kearney High School and Horizon Middle School to urge them to wipe out bullying. “It takes a lot of courage to say, ‘That ain’t right. It ain’t funny,” said Smalley. “It’s about time that we all learn respect for others and tolerance. You gotta be the one willing to speak up.”
Smalley urged students and citizens of Kearney to lead the fight, which prompted Kearney High School and Horizon Middle School to start chapters of Stand for the Silent.
At Horizon Middle School, Stand For the Silent is an optional class held during 10th period, so each quarter there are new students in the class. At Kearney High School, SFTS meets every other week.
Both groups plan activities that create knowledge and acceptance of others. This year, the KHS group created KHS Unity Week and plans to reach out to the elementary schools to help spread the message of acceptance to all students.
At Horizon Middle School, the group organizes fun and educational activities and events to promote tolerance and respect for all. This year, they held a "fun night" at the school, organized Community Unity Week activities, and provided educational information during morning announcements regarding bullying.
The event planned for Friday will start at 6:30 p.m. with a unity walk at Harmon Park. Following the walk there will be games, a cake walk and auction as well as live music by Brody Runge, Luke Mills and Sunny Jackson. Those activities will go until 10 p.m.
Individuals can preregister for the walk at http://tinyurl.com/KearneyWalk.
For more information about Stand for the Silent, go to www.StandForTheSilent.org.