Anti-bullying task force announces 22 members

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Reporter - Mychaela Bruner
Photographer - Mike Spissinger

PADUCAH, KY - It can happen anywhere or to anyone. Bullying is a leading factor in suicide among kids 11 to 16 years old.

Paducah Mayor Gale Kaler introduced the members of a new anti-bullying task force on Monday. Kaler said each of the 22 members were chosen because of their diverse backgrounds, love for the community and passion to make a difference.

Several other committees will also be created to help serve the Anti-Bullying Task Force.

Kaler said the Anti-Bullying Task Force will study ways to prevent bullying in the area. Members of the new task force said they are excited to join the panel because they believe something needs to be done to prevent bullying in the future. Executive Director of the Boys and Girl's Club Allen Treece said even the club has had issues with bullying.

New task force member Amy Clevidence said there is a fine line between teasing and bullying and it is important to know the difference. "A joke can be a joke for some people, but be very difficult for another person to handle," said Clevidence. "I have children and no one wants to see their child go through a difficult situation, we want something that's wonderful. We want a community that's safe," said Clevidence.

Treece said he tries to intervene when possible to prevent little arguments. "A lot of it is kids being kids, when you get a lot of kids around, there's going to be arguing and that kind of stuff. You have to be proactive and try to catch it on the front end," said Treece.

Susan Guess assisted Kaler in coordinating the task force and said bullying is more prevalent than what most people think. "It occurs at daycares, churches, at home, at the workplace, 37 percent of the workforce is bullied," said Guess.

Guess spoke up at the Anti-Bullying Task Force announcement and said, "Every seven seconds a child is bullied."

Mayor Kaler said this task force is important to her because children have a special place in her heart.

Kaler said, "I want Paducah to be known as a compassionate community. I want Paducah to be a better place to live, a better place to raise your children. I want our schools to be the best we can make them."

Kaler said it all starts with children treating each other with kindness and love. "I think our children are our future and we as adults in this community need to work closely with our children to encourage them, mentor them, show them how important they are. Then you will have children with lots of self esteem, that go on to be leaders," said Kaler.

Kaler said, "I want us to raise awareness in our community that we won't allow it, we will not allow bullying in our community."

The Anti-Bullying Task Force will have their first meeting on August 1st.

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