JACKSON, MS - The state's top law enforcer has fixed his sites on bullies, as law enforcement and education officials kicked-off the "Fear Stops Here" campaign Wednesday morning. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and the State Department of Education are targeting the issue of bullying in schools at the Anti-Bullying Youth Leadership Conference at the Jackson Convention Complex.
The conference is placing a special emphasis on 21st century bullying through social networking websites, such as Facebook, and text messaging. The conference is designed to lay the groundwork for student's to be proactive in their battle against bullying.
Seventh-graders, representing various schools from across the Magnolia State attended the conference. Leaders are hopeful they will take the attorney general's message back to their classmate.
Dontique McField, a seventh-grader at East Flora Middle School, is concerned about bullying at his school.
"I would hope that when we go back we can tell people, some students at our school, what we learned and to help them stop bullying people, so everyone can get along," McField said.
Hood hopes all students are as receptive as McField, especially considering their emphasis on peer-to-peer influence.
"We learned through tobacco that you speak to kids by using other kids to speak to them," Hood said. "They listen better than through adults, so what we're doing is we're training young people to go talk to others to say it's not right to put up with cyber-bullying."
Hood is also encouraging parents to read the warning signs that their child may be a victim of cyber threats. If parents are concerned Hood does not shy away from telling parents to spy on their kids.
"The best thing to do is get their password (to their Facebook account), so that you're able to go on their, check and see what they are doing," Hood said.
Hood added that text messages are a hot spot for parents to pick up clues, as to whether-or-not their children are being threatened by bullies.
In conjunction with the conference the state is launching a PSA, using real Mississippi students documenting the effects of cyber-bullying. You can check that out on the Fear Stops Here website.
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