A father who has seen the effects of bullying first hand will be talking to Knox County leaders Tuesday about how to put an end to it with a simple message.
"We have little wristbands that we give out that say 'I am somebody,' and that's our main message to these kids. Everyone is allowed to be who they are. And we love everybody just the way they are," said Kirk Smalley.
Smalley lost his son Ty to bullying. Ty was just 11 years old when he committed suicide.
Since then, he created the group Stand for the Silent, and Tuesday morning he will talk with Knoxville police, school board members, and officials in the mayor's office.
Kirk typically travels to schools to share his message. While he won't do that Tuesday, he did share with us the impact anti-bullying presentations have on students.
"Our presentation has something for every kid," he said. "They connect with us. By the time they're done, they come up and they want a hug and a lot of them are crying. The studs in school, the big high school jock football players, stand up in the middle of the presentation and they're crying and they'll apologize to the kids that they've been picking on. They'll say I didn't realize what I did could cause this and I'm sorry."
The documentary "Bully" featured Kirk Smalley and his family. The movie looks at the effects of bullying in schools around the country. If you would like to watch it, it is available on Netflix.