Oklahoma Stories

Kirk Smalley, Oklahoma City

(Nominated by Lisa Johnson)
Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum
April 20, 2011

Kirk Smalley is the father of Ty Smalley, who was the victim of bullying in his small, rural Oklahoma town of Perkins.  Ty took his own life as a result of this bullying.  Rather than becoming angry and embittered, Kirk launched a program that has already touched the lives of 30,000 students worldwide—he was even invited to the White House to promote his anti-bullying campaign.  Working in unison with the Stand For The Silent program, Kirk addresses the issue of school bullying with an engaging, factual, and emotional student presentation. Through these efforts, students are shown first-hand the life and death consequences of bullying. With the help of Upward Bound participants, students are presented with testimonies, videos and roll-play activities. Through this unique approach, lives are changed for the better. Students, some for the first time, develop an empathetic awareness through education and understanding. At the end of each event, pledge cards are given to those who agree to stand for the silent. The pledge speaks of respect and love…hope and aspiration. Above all, it illustrates the main lesson taught through the Kirk Smalley and Stand For The Silent program: I AM SOMEBODY.  Kirk has truly made a difference in my school and the response of my students has been overwhelming.  He is my personal hero and would be a great participant in the stitching that represents our community and our country’s ability to rebuild and remain steadfast in our commitment to each other. (Photo: Rebecca Beyan stitching for Kirk.)