A Clark County boy is standing up against bullying and hosting a rally Saturday in Springfield.
Gabriel Gilbert, 13, has had major health issues throughout his life that caused him to lose his hair. Gabriel has been bullied because of it, he said.
“There was name calling, kids knocked books out of my hands and calling me Mr. Clean,” Gabriel said. “I had a kid in the bathroom push me into the stalls and say that I shouldn’t be in school because of my health issues.”
The bullying had gotten to the point that he was contemplating hurting himself, he said.
“My mom took me home and explained to me how much I meant to the family and her and I decided I wanted to take a stand against the bullies,” he said. “I wanted to do a small group but then I thought about it and I wanted the community to learn it’s not just one person getting bullied. There are a lot of people and I don’t want the people who are getting bullied to feel like they are alone because they are not.”
The anti-bullying rally will take place at Cattle Zone Restaurant and Bar on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. There will be many activities for kids including ponies, games, food and more.
Gabriel’s mom, Tammy Nunnery, said she’s proud of her son for standing up against bullying. Gabriel is her best friend, she said, and she wants to help him spread his message.
“Our rally is an anti-bullying rally so that we can educate families and also let kids know they are not alone,” she said. “Try to educate the parents of what they can do to see the signs of bullying. These days you just don’t know if your child is being bullied because they kind of bottle up inside.”
She hopes a big crowd comes out to support her son.
“We want everybody to come to our event,” she said. “We want everybody to get educated because it’s not just my child. It’s everybody’s children these days.”
If everyone unites against bullying, she said they might be able to stop it.
“We can get everyone together and take a stand against the bullies,” Nunnery said. “Because this isn’t just in school and this isn’t just my son. These are people’s kids, their grandkids, their nieces and nephews, their friend’s kids — all of them. If we can get us all together and we all take a stand I’m really hoping that makes a difference.”
Gabriel became ill when he was young and has been dealing with his health problems for almost his entire life.
“The challenges was that I was really sick,” he said. “And I just thought that there was no giving up, fight till the end. So, I didn’t want to give up so I kept on pushing myself and pushing myself so I did not give up. There were a lot of challenges, a lot of up and downs. I had good days, I had bad days.”
After facing his illness, which he says is gone, he now has been facing some tough ridicule. He wants it to stop and not just for himself.
“I was tired of being bullied,” he said. “I wanted it to stop. I thought there are other kids being bullied, it’s not just me. I wanted to take a stand and tell other kids that they are not alone.”
The event Saturday is to raise awareness, Gabriel said, and reach out to others who are suffering.
The National Bullying Prevention Center estimates one in five students will report being bullied. The statistics show about 65 percent of students who are bullied don’t report it.
Triad Middle School student Bethany Thompson killed herself in 2016. Her parents said that she was bullied.