Anti-bullying event to raise awareness held Saturday in Cudahy

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CUDAHY (WITI) -- Bullying happens to about a third of school-aged children in the United States, and adds up to more than 13 million victims every year. In some cases, it leads to suicide. A group of parents met in Cudahy to raise awareness and tell kids it's going to be okay.

"This is my passion. I sleep, eat, breathe the anti-bullying," Jessica York said.

York is with Texas-based YouthChampions.org. She joined the movement in February, after pulling her 14-year-old son out of the Menomonie School District.

"I just got tired of seeing the nightmare he was living. He was in a nightmare of being bullied every day," York said.

York's son, Tannor, says through the group, he's finally found students he can relate to.

"Just that they've gone through a lot of the stuff that's similar to me, just different incidents and everything but they've thought the same things and wanted to do the same things that I've thought of too," Tannor York said.

It's the idea of teens harming themselves that horrifies the adults in Cudahy. Within the last year-and-a-half, three students from Cudahy High School have committed suicide, which prompted a protest outside the school.

"The event (Saturday) is to bring awareness, because I didn't realize anything and I've been involved in the schools and I didn't know kids were taking their lives over bullying," Kathy Krause, President of the Cudahy/St. Francis Kiwanis organization said.

While Saturday's event is geared toward the kids, the organizer, Renee Lange says the message for adults is equally important.

"I would like for the parents to believe their children when the kids are telling them 'I'm being bullied.' Parents, please listen to them. If you don't, they don't have anyone to turn to," Lange said.

Based on a 2010 study, 64% of kids who were bullied never reported it.

Organizers of Saturday's event hope rallies like this one will encourage victims to speak up. They also hope it will get students to intervene if they see someone else being bullied.