Jessica Brookshire was on campus Tuesday to talk about being a victim of bullying and how it impacted her life — for the better.
Brookshire was moved to create the organization K.A.R.M.A. (Kids Against Ridicule, Meanness and Aggression) because she was bullied in high school. Through her organization she is traveling the country speaking to students.
The former Miss Alabama contestant told the Winterboro students when she was in high school there were nights when she prayed. She prayed she wouldn’t wake up in the morning. When she did awake the next morning, she would be disappointed, dreading the ridicule she would face at school that day.
“It was never ending,” she said. “If I sit here and think about it long enough I will still cry. When I graduated from high school they laughed at me when I walked across the stage. A lot of them didn’t even know they were bullying me.”
Brookshire’s hope is to be a voice and a refuge for those who are bullied in school, because she had none.
“I am here for you guys,” she told the students. “It’s about talking people through it. Nobody stood in front of me and told me it would be okay. I’m not a counselor or a doctor or a teacher but I will help you and get you to the right person you need to talk to.”
The Auburn University graduate says it is her dream that one day she will see a generation of children who encourage and help one another rather than tear each other down with words.
“Anything that you do over a technological device that’s called cyber bullying,” Brookshire said. “There are federal cyber bullying laws.”
Brookshire said if cyber bullying existed when she was in school, she’s unsure of how she would have made it.
“Suicide is the third leading cause of death in kids your age,” she said. “What bullies do is they push their victims to the edge until they reach that breaking point. Students who are bullied either implode or explode. When they explode they act out. Every school shooting has been linked to bullying. All of them. That’s scary.”
The summit lasted all day.
“My prayer is that this hit home for some of you, my fear is that it didn’t for some of you,” said Winterboro High School Principal Craig Bates. “Some people don’t get the message until it’s too late.”
Contact Lindsey Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org.