For most of us Wednesday was just that, Wednesday,
the 21st day of September. But for Kirk Smalley,
Wednesday was the 496th day without his child.
Smalley spent the day talking to students in our area
so that no other family has to spend their days counting
the days since the last time they saw their child smile or
heard their child laugh. Smalleyâs 13-year-old son, T.J.,
killed himself in 2010 because of a bully at school.
Since his death, Smalley and his wife have spent their
life savings to try and prevent another child from doing
the same. He began by starting the website www.standforthesilent.
com and travels to schools and events to
spread his message that ending bullying will change the
world and save lives.
Smalley spoke at several LeFlore County schools on
Tuesday and Wednesday and will continue his tour
today when he speaks to students from Panama, Shady
Point, Cameron, Arkoma and Bokoshe. He will be back
in our area on Sept. 27 when he will speak to students
from Poteau Upper Elementary, Pansy Kidd Middle
School, Howe, Monroe, Fanshawe and Hodgen. The
next day on Sept. 28 he is scheduled to speak to students
from Wister, Leflore, Talihina and Whitesboro
before he an appearance at the Hamilton Auditorium on
the CASC campus at 7 p.m. that will be open to the
According to Smalley, because of bullying, before a
student graduates high school one in four will not only
think about suicide but they will have a plan in place to
carry it out. Smalley says he works to teach students
that they are somebody and they make a difference in
the world. Smalley said that on Fatherâs Day 2010 he
made a promise to his son who had been buried less
than a month before that he would take on the bullies
and change the world. He hasnât wavered in his intention
to keep that promise.
âOur babies are hurting. Whether they are a victim, a
bully, or a bystander, they have seen it happen,â Smalley
said. âPeople may look at me and say âMan, this guy is
out there. He thinks he can take a bunch of babies and
change the world.â To that I say, yes, I believe I can. I
will stand for the silent and we will change the
Smalley credits all the students who have taken his
challenge and his pledge to put an end to bullying. He
said that for almost an entire year after his sonâs death,
he wrote letters to the President telling him that something
had to be done to stop bullying, to no avail.
However, early this year one of the students from a
Stand for the Silent chapter found out about his attempts
and rallied other students and Facebook friends to write
letters as well. Less than two weeks later he received a
call from the White House asking him if he could get
the students to stop their campaign and was granted a
private meeting with the President and First Lady. His
message is a powerful one that has touched the lives of
more than 12,000 students to date. He also is scheduled
to speak at more than 100 schools between now and the
end of the year. Smalley was recently granted a 503 c 3
status and as of October 1 his mission will become his
full time job. He is being let go from his job because of
his hectic schedule. It also means that he and his wife
will no longer have insurance. That doesnât deter him
from his promise.
The public can hear Smalleyâs message on Sept. 28 at
7 p.m. You can also visit his website for more information.