Local businesswoman Mickie Ochoa and Corpus Christi attorney Stephanie Silva have approached Beeville Independent School District Superintendent Sue Thomas, County Judge David Silva, Sheriff Carlos Carrizales, Mayor Santiago “Jimbo” Martinez, Police Chief Joe Treviño and others to enlist their support for an anti-bullying program.
The two women have scheduled a community gathering beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 31, to begin organizing a special program to deal with the issue.
The meeting will be held at the Bee County Exposition Center, and organizers will provide an open microphone for students who attend to express their concerns. Silva said she and Ochoa want community leaders to be present to realize what the problems are.
Silva said free hotdogs and sodas should help to attract supporters of the effort as well as students who want to comment on bullying.
“We’re doing a sample survey to see what is the problem,” Silva said. So far, more girls seem to be involved in the situation.
“Facebook is a major, major issue,” Ochoa said. Students have abused the Internet social media phenomenon to harass others.
One of the incidents that sparked interest in the problem was the recent suicide of a 16-year-old Flour Bluff High School student in Corpus Christi.
The student had withdrawn from the school because of alleged bullying incidents.
“We’re not going to put up with it,” Silva said. “We, as a community, want to be there for them,” the attorney said of bullying victims.
Ochoa said she and Silva attended a recent workshop organized by CCISD students to address the problem.
Silva said the CCISD program actually was organized by students who realized the matter needed to be addressed. She said she and Ochoa will attend other workshops in the future.
“The reason for this,” Ochoa said, “is we don’t want anyone to feel that no one is there for them and that they have to take their own life.”
“We just want people to come out to the meeting,” Silva said. “We really want students’ input.”
Ochoa said one intent of the program is to provide a way for students to report incidents of bullying right away, so officials can take steps to deal with it before the situation becomes worse.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.