Programming note: Learn more about Kirk’s story and see how he has turned grief into a mission to help kids in the AC360° documentary “The Bully Effect” on Sunday, March 3 and Saturday, March 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
Kirk Smalley and his wife, Laura, endured every parent’s worst nightmare – burying their child. Their 11-year-old son, Ty, was a victim of bullying.
“This kid that had been picking on him for over two years, came up and starting picking on him again. And I guess Ty finally had enough. He retaliated … he got caught. He was suspended for three days. They called his mama. She went and picked him up, took him home,” said Kirk Smalley.
“She told Ty to do his homework, told him to do his chores, told him we’d talk about it when we got home that evening. When Laura came home … she found out that Ty didn’t do his homework. Our boy didn’t do his chores. Instead, he killed himself on our bedroom floor.”
Programming note: Learn more about Kelby’s story and see how she and her dad have overcome prejudice and bullying in the AC360° documentary “The Bully Effect” on Thursday, February 28 at 10 p.m. ET and March 3 and 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
Bobby Johnson’s daughter Kelby came out of the closet at age 14. The reaction from their church, he says, was immediate. “The pastor’s response was, ‘you can come here but you can no longer teach, you can no longer hold any position of authority or power within the church because that’s a part of our bylaws,” says Johnson, adding, “since that day … we have not been back.”
It was a defining moment for a man raised in a deeply religious household, and was the beginning of a journey of introspection of his faith.
“As I began to see the hate, the anger, the intolerance that came out in the community with Kelby, that really made me reflect on what I was taught,” he said.
Editor's note: Don't miss AC360°'s "The Bully Effect" on Sunday, March 3 and Saturday, March 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
Eva was a bully. Tall for her age, she used her height to intimidate her peers. She made fun of those without designer clothes and got suspended several times for fighting.
She was also well-liked, outgoing, funny - and a victim of bullying herself.
"When you're in junior high, you're just trying to figure out who you are," the 24-year-old Los Angeles resident remembers. She says she bullied others because she was, as were most kids, insecure.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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