“Each and every one of you has a story. Each and every one of you has something that you are going through and if each and every one of us had to go and sit here and talk about the things that we go through, maybe we wouldn’t think it so funny to drag them down.” This was what Tina Meier had to say to Winfield Students on Feb. 5, in regards to cyber bullying.
Tina Meier is the founder and Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating awareness of cyber bullying and suicide among teens.
The foundation was dedicated in honor of Meier’s daughter Megan, who committed suicide after being bullied on MySpace in 2006.
In December 2007, Meier set up the Megan Meier Foundation and since that time Megan’s story has been shared with 234,139 students, parents, educators and professionals about the damaging affects of cyber bullying and how words can indeed hurt.
Meier spoke to a full gymnasium and the assembly went from 1 p.m. until almost 2:30 p.m. Meier hoped that students would understand the dangers of picking on their peers, saying anything that may seem all in fun can be hurtful and that they must understand that accepting people for who they are and embracing diversity is key not only for the people they come into contact with, but also for themselves when they leave Winfield High School.
Meier challenged the students with several scenarios that would challenge the way they view the rest of the world and about those who are different from them.
“If you never look at the world in a different way how are you going to be able to walk into a classroom where the people around you are trans gender?”
Meier also strived to be straight forward and blunt with the students, which she believes helped the students understand better.
“Students that approached me said that they were happy that I talked to them instead of lecturing,” said Meier “and that they felt change needed to be made in their school and community and hoped that this would be a starting point.”
Meier also talked about Megan’s story and challenged those in attendance to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and see if the things they say could be hurtful to that individual.
According to statistics a total of 13 million American children will be bullied or cyber bullied this year alone and the Megan Meier Foundation’s mission is “To live in a world where bullying, cyber bullying and suicide no longer exist.”