Board of Regents member makes national headlines

GuessWhen Murray State Board of Regents member Susan Guess learned that her 8-year-old daughter was bullied at school, she decided to take action.

She started the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation with her daughter, Morgan, to spread awareness about the increasing problem of bullying.

Guess said she could tell her daughter was keeping something from her, but one day she admitted to being a victim of bullying.

“I told (Morgan) that there are two options when it comes to bullying: choose to ignore it or become part of the solution,” Guess said.

After learning the truth about her daughter’s problem, Guess met with school officials to start raising awareness about bullying.

Guess said she did not want any more children to have to suffer in silence from being bullied.

“The mission of our campaign is to raise awareness and make a difference,” she said. “People need to know that (bullying) affects us all.”

Guess went around to the schools in the community to further spread the campaign’s message and to have students sign a pledge against bullying.

The foundation brought in bullying activist Jodee Blanco and author of the book “Please Stop Laughing at Me” to help more than 6,000 students understand the effects of bullying.

Guess also raised money to bring Lee Hirsch, the director of the movie “Bully” to her hometown of Paducah, Ky.

The campaign produced a video called “Not in Our Town” asking people to join in the movement.

Guess said she plans to continue spreading the word through her campaign by giving any school in Kentucky bully tool kits and will continue to look for ways to make a change and get the message out there.

“By spreading the message, Kentucky can lead the way in the anti-bullying movement and show we are making a difference,” Guess said.

According to www.bullyingstatistics.org, one in four children in the United States is bullied on a regular basis.

Guess said she is planning to meet with Gov. Steve Beshear to discuss a statewide campaign.

According to the Kentucky Center for School Safety, children ages 5-11 are the most likely to be bullied.

Guess said bullying is not confined to grades K-12, and that college ages students are at risk for bullying as well.

“Bullying is everywhere,” Guess said. “The more we talk about the problem, the less fear there will be.”

Guess said she wants to spread her daughter’s story to people who are in similar situations and do not know what to do.

Said Guess: “One person can make the difference, you just have to be brave enough to take a stand.”

Story by Rebecca Walter, Staff writer.