BY MURIEL BAILEY
Fourth-grader Maddie Whitsett's story serves as a reminder to all parents: Teach your children not to bully others and look for warning signs that suggest your child is a victim.
The Mobile County District Attorney's Office has a "bully blocker" program designed to help parents and students who are being bullied in class or online.
The director, Kaila Williams, says when it comes to bullying, most kids are going through developmental phases and the attacks may seem huge to them as if it's the end of the world.
She says it's important for parents to pay attention to changes in their children.
"Just small things you can look for, their changing in eating habits, changing the way they usually look, whether they're more withdrawn or reserved," Williams said. "Even teachers can look for those signs because parents know their children and teachers know their students. Whether they're saying they're losing things all the time or can't find certain things. They don't want to go to school or sick all the time."
Williams says you should also start an open line of communication with your child and ask them if they're having any issues at school.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.