Sullivan Co. Sheriff's Office combats bullying with summer camp

Sullivan Co. Sheriff's Office combats bullying with summer camp

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Bullying is a problem everywhere with children and adults, but a summer camp going on in Sullivan County is teaching elementary students the skills to deal with it.

Like Hannah Quiggle. In fifth grade, she experienced bullying. "For some reason she liked to pinch me, and she would leave me these big bruises on me," she says.

The 11-year-old told her mom and teacher, but it continued. "She did it on my arm, then she'd do it on another spot, so it would get this one big bruise," she says. "It hurt, it didn't feel good, like I felt upset and mad sometimes."

She says it doesn't happen anymore, but Hannah is only one example of a nationwide problem.

That's why Chief Deputy Lisa Christian of the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office created Camp Take-A-Stand. "To reduce a child being hurt mentally or physically, reduce the numbers of that happening, and teach kids to stick up for themselves, but to also stick up for other kids," she says.

News 5 learned the camp targeted third to fifth graders to educate kids before they get to middle school - where the problem gets worse. "We're teaching them how to deal with bullying if they witness it, if they are bullied, and if they're bullies. Sometimes kids don't realize the behavior that they're doing is actually bullying and what it can actually cause," Christian says.

Like creating a chain, connecting good words and bad words. Playing telephone to show how rumors are spread, and listening to guest speakers like Patricia Miller.

Miller is a restorative justice speaker who wants kids to be strong enough to stand up to a bully. "Even if they're telling you it's no big deal, a child is hurting inside, building that insecurity, children should feel safe in school, they have that right," she says.

And Hannah says bullies act out because they hurt inside too. "It's someone that has been bullied before, and they just feel mad and upset, so they just like bring it out on someone else," she says.

She knows that bullies, hers especially, just need a friend. "Yes, I do forgive her," she says.

The camp started in 2011, but was cut for budget reasons. The community raised the funds necessary to continue the camp this summer.

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