WLOS to host Your Voice, Your Future Round Table: The New Age of Bullying

On Tues., August 15 News 13 will host a Your Voice, Your Future Round Table discussion: The New Age of Bullying. (Image credit: MGN Online)

The issues of bullying and youth suicides have recently gained national attention, and the momentum doesn't seem to be slowing down. That is why on Tues., August 15 News 13 will host a Your Voice, Your Future Round Table discussion: The New Age of Bullying. The Round Table will air from 8pm-9pm on channel 13.3 and wlos.com. Viewers can submit questions to our panelists by emailing news@wlos.com, kelsayhart@wlos.com or posting on the WLOS Facebook page.

The panelists are youth counselor Max Weissman - LPC-S NCC with Adolescent Counseling Services of WNC; Jeanne Mcgowan, the safety officer for Asheville City Schools; School Resource Officer Craig Roberts with the Asheville Police Department, assigned to Asheville High School; and Kim Cornwell, a Henderson County mother whose 16-year-old daughter took her own life after she was bullied in 2014.

Eight-year-old Gabe Taye killed himself in January 2017 in Cincinnati. His parents have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming that school administrators failed in their responsibility to help protect the 8-year-old. The suit alleges a treacherous school environment that led to the boy's suicide.

In Champaign County, Ohio, an 11-year-old brain cancer survivor took her own life because of constant bullying last year. Eight years ago, Bethany Thompson survived a surgery to remove a tumor from her brain. The operation caused a damaged nerve that left Bethany with a crooked smile. Her father said that smile is why bullies picked on her.

But it doesn't stop there.

In pop culture, a popular TV series on Netflix showed a teen ending her own life. A new study found "13 Reasons Why" may have triggered a surge in online searchers for suicide, including how to do it.

The show has also been criticized for glorifying suicide, which led Netflix to add an additional warning ahead of the series.

Locally, Western North Carolina is not immuned to bullying problems either.

Back in July the Transylvania County chapter of the NAACP met to discuss issues of racism at Brevard High School. Tommy Kilgore, NAACP chapter president, said the high school has systemic racism problems.

In 2016, a fight was caught on camera on a Haywood County school bus. Cheryl Hillis said her son was the target of bullying because he was new to school.

One of the most tragic cases covered by News 13 happened in 2014. Amber Cornwell, 16, was a student at East Henderson High. She committed suicide, and her family has always maintained it was bullying. However, the school said Cornwell never reported in bullying incidents, so administrators were unaware of the situation.

Compounding the bullying issue are social media and cell phones in school. Just a few years ago, what happened at school stayed at school. Now thanks to sites like SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, etc. incidents that happen at school can now be shared and re-shared for the online world to see, not just a student’s peers.

The panelists for the Round Table will answer questions submitted by viewers and touch on a variety of issues including warning signs of bullying, the lasting effects on students, the parents' role whether their child is the victim or the bully, how schools can combat the issue and the role of social media.

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