Gov. Nikki Haley made a stop at Georgetown Middle School on Wednesday where she was able to drop the political talk for awhile and speak about another important topic — bullying.
Haley — who said she visited the school at the request of State Rep. Carl Anderson — told the 150 students selected to attend the rally that making fun of people for the way they look, dress or talk is bullying.
When she asked if the students knows someone who has been picked on or bullied, every student raised their hand.
“All of that is bullying and it is wrong,” Haley said. “Cool kids don’t bully.”
She told them if they see someone being bullied and stand by and do nothing, they are just as guilty of bullying as the one committing the act.
“A leader says don’t do that. A leader tries to do something about it,” Haley told the students. “A leader will go tell a teacher.”
When asked if she was bullied, Haley said, “Yes, I actually was when I was in elementary school and middle school. I was bullied, and I was bullied because no one knew whether I was black or white. I am Indian. All I knew was I was brown. I was made fun of because we were the only Indian family in town. ... But what I learned was to be strong, and to speak up and educate people; and I want to make sure you understand that even if you’ve been bullied, look at me today, these things can change.”
Fifty students from each grade level were chosen to attend the rally. The selection was based on test scores, said Principal Rosemary Gray.
Haley’s office did not announce they were visiting the school until Tuesday which gave the staff only a day to prepare.
Signs of bullying
• Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
• Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing or jewelry
• Has unexplained injuries
• Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches or feeling sick
• Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
• Has changes in eating habits
• Hurts himself or herself
• Is very hungry after school from not eating lunch
• Runs away from home
• Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
• Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
• Loses interest in schoolwork or begins to do poorly in school
• Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed
• Talks about suicide
• Feels helpless
• Often feels like he or she is not good enough
• Blames himself for his problems
• Suddenly has fewer friends
• Avoids certain places
• Acts differently than usual
By Scott Harper
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