Local teenagers taking a stand against bullying
by Bailey Richards
Chasity Sexton recently found herself in a situation that is increasingly becoming more of a problem for teenagers across the country. It happened on a Facebook page meant to tear people down called the LetcherCounty Ratchets.
Chasity had become a victim of cyberbullying.
Shortly after the post she received a message from a girl she had never met, telling Sexton that she was beautiful and not to let it get to her.
Leslie Ritchie had also never met Sexton, but knew of her through a friend and didn’t want to see her or anyone else bullied. Sexton is going to be a junior at Perry Central High School, and Ritchie is going in to eighth grade at A.B. Combs.
“I was posted in it and they were talking stuff about me. Leslie messaged me and told me a lot of stuff about how I was pretty, amazing, and how I should not let this stuff get us down,” said Sexton.
From there, Ritchie told Sexton that she had an idea that could help people like her while also building up the entire community. They started their own Facebook page and instead of talking bad about the LetcherCounty Ratchets page, they gave people compliments.
Ritchie said that as she saw the LetcherCounty Ratchets page progress and talk about more and more people, she worried for all of those people who had been mentioned.
“All of these people are getting torn down, and I was thinking something bad is going to happen eventually,” said Ritchie. She decided to take a stand and see if even one compliment could make a difference.
They started PerryCounty Beasts as a personal page where people can go and post compliments, tell their bullying stories, and seek help for low self-esteem.
In the past three days, these two young people have been able to take this idea and make it catch on across the county. They currently have nearly 650 friends, and people ranging from students to teachers have posted on their page.
The rapid pace that this page has taken can be attributed to its uniqueness. With so many Facebook pages and websites being used to criticize, PerryCounty Beasts is an equal opportunity place to read something nice about yourself and others.
“There are a lot of kids that have lost friends and family to bullying because of suicide, and there are a lot of people who have been bullied and have bullies,” said Sexton, adding their page this is a positive place for all of these people.
“Instead of pointing out every one’s flaws we are going to give compliments,” the first post on the page reads.
Since that first post on Tuesday morning, hundreds of compliments to hundreds of different people have poured in. Many of them from the creators of the page to friends, people they have seen being bullied, and even people that have bullied them.
They said while they understand why so many people were excited for a page like this, they never expected the outpouring of support they have received.
“We just wanted to do something about this and just get a few friends,” Sexton said. “We never expected anything at all like this.”
Since they saw the popularity of the page, they have started to come up with new ideas to help spread the word. They have started an event on Facebook to promote telling people how great they are. This event asks that people tell at least three others what makes them wonderful.
“That was actually one of our supporters’ ideas,” Sexton noted. “She told me about it, and I just kind of set it in motion. It is not all us; it is every person on the page.”
The girls also have ideas for events and even merchandise so people can show their support for the fight against bullying.
“We just really want to help anybody and everybody that we can,” said Sexton. “We have t-shirt design ideas that we are going to make. We are thinking about bracelets and getting financial sponsors. Anything that can help fight against bullying.”
One supporter, Jake Ryan Lyttle, has created a webpage for the group, speakupagainstbullying.weebly.com. Another supporter, Robert Napier, is working on a music video including some of the stories people have told on the Facebook page.
“We just really want to help the victims, you know, and put some smiles on their faces,” said Ritchie.
On the same day that the PerryCounty Beasts page was started, the LetcherCounty Ratchets page was removed from Facebook.
In the spirit of the PerryCounty Beast page, the Hazard Herald would like to give a compliment to the Leslie and Chasity for their good work in making the Internet just a little bit nicer.
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