Students to hear about violence, bullying

Published 1:18 am Saturday, January 23, 2016

In an effort to combat bullying and school shootings, school officials and law enforcement officials have teamed up to bring the “True Lies” assembly to Covington County.

Phil Chalmers

Phil Chalmers

In February, every seventh through 12th grade student in Covington County will have the opportunity to participate in the assembly presented by Phil Chalmers.

Chalmers has interviewed more than 200 teen killers and school shooters and is widely considered America’s leading authority on teen homicide.

In his assembly, Chalmers addresses school shootings, bullying, suicide, substance abuse and Internet safety.

“I take very seriously the 60 minutes that the schools give me, and I fully expect to see life change in the students from the short time I get to spend with them.”

Earlier this year, Covington County Schools board member Jeff Bailey approached District Attorney Walt Merrell and local school superintendents Ted Watson, Shannon Driver and Michael Smithart about bringing Chalmers locally.

They agreed to partner with the project.

“We can’t be blind to the fact that young people face different stressors than we did growing up,” Bailey said. “We have to be proactive in identifying potential problem areas to protect our kids and to safeguard our schools from the threat of both internal and external violence.”

Merrell attended Chalmers’ “Generation Death” law enforcement summit and said it was the most powerful seminar he had attended.

“Phil Chalmers is the most effective speaker on the subject of teen violence that I have ever heard,” Merrell said. “I know this will be a great session for the kids, teachers and the law enforcement who attend. The threat of violence knows no age boundaries. We owe it to our young people to be prepared.”

Bailey said that administrators often struggle with how to be real with kids.

“Phil Chalmers and this program are just that,” he said. “He has an in-your-face approach that the students respond to.”

Chalmers will present four programs on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11.

He will also present another program on Feb. 11, at the Opp High School auditorium, which will be geared toward educators and police officers.

Parents are also welcome to attend.

The event is being sponsored by PowerSouth, Merrell, and all three school systems.