A grant from Radford University, along with a partnership with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office is helping to push an anti-bully initiative.
“Back when I took office in January of 2012, shortly after I had been here we had a couple of pretty horrific cases and two of them dealt with teenagers that unfortunately took their lives,” said Sheriff Bill Overton.
The sheriff says he doesn’t know if the cases had any direct correlation with bullying, but it prompted him to look further in the topic. It’s a problem that is starting to grow in Franklin County.
“We can't tolerate it, there's better means of disposing of issues,” said Overtone.
The sheriff is going to read an anti - bullying book to students at Ferrum Elementary School. The "Communities Against Bullying” initiative will supply anti - bullying books to all school libraries in the county.
Authorities say social media is starting a play a major role in the issue, taking traditional face to face bullying to cyberspace.
“We've seen some horrific cases across the country, where youths have taken their own lives,” Overtone “You can go back and track the fact. It was something that started and it just grew through social media.”
Anti-bullying experts from Radford and local authorities hope to see some results from the initiative. The sheriff has a message to those who have fallen victim.
“You are special; you are a special human being that was uniquely made. If you are being bullied or even feel you are, you need to feel comfortable and go tell someone,” said Overtone.
The sheriff says that monitoring will be in place to see if the program is successful.