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Anti-bullying: East Prairie kicks off prevention campaign

Sunday, March 20, 2011

(Photo)
Tina Meier of suburban St. Louis speaks to a group fourth and fifth graders from Martin Elementary in East Prairie Friday in the high school's auditorium. Meier's 13-year-old daughter, Megan, hanged herself in 2006 after falling victim to an Internet hoax carried out, in part, by an adult neighbor who posed as a boy.
(Leonna Heuring, Staff)
EAST PRAIRIE -- Students, teachers and parents in the East Prairie R-2 School District are taking a stand against bullies in their community.

"Every school district is facing bullying and cyberbullying issues at all grade levels," said Lesli Marcum, East Prairie R-2 director of special education. "Social media is so big. With our students, we wanted to be proactive rather than reactive."

On Friday the school district kicked off its anti-bullying campaign with a visit from Tina Meier of suburban St. Louis. Meier's 13-year-old daughter, Megan, hanged herself in 2006 after falling victim to an Internet hoax carried out, in part, by an adult neighbor who posed as a boy.

"When you get behind the computer, you may think (what you're writing is) a joke, but it's not. It can hurt people's feelings," Meier told a group of Martin Elementary fourth and fifth graders.

The neighbor, a woman, was later convicted of a federal misdemeanor in a landmark cyberbullying trial.

Meier, who spoke to students in fourth through 12th grades and parents/community members in different sessions throughout the day, addressed the different forms of bullying, the definition of cyberbullying, bystanders, consequences of cyberbullying others and ways to protect one's self.

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