STANLEY, Wisc. (WEAU) - Dozens gathered at the Stanley Boyd School Saturday to learn what they can do to prevent bullying in their communities and schools.
It was one year ago Feb. 12, that Payton Ruth Anne Richardson, 12, took her own life after repeated bullying. That's why her mom, Melissa Richardson of New Auburn said she is speaking out against it.
"My life is so drastically changed. Payton was my one and only and life's just not the same anymore," Richardson said.
"(Classmates) were telling Payton she was fat, she was ugly. I had one girl that multiple times had told Payton you're worthless, you should just end your life, in text messaging and emails," she said.
Saturday, she shared her story at the 'Lend a hand, take a stand against bullying' workshop in Stanley, put on by the local Girl Scout Troop 3130 for the first time, to help scouts earn a silver award.
"We decided that we could bring awareness to our community, and so that we could prevent it from happening here," scout Amanda Wright said.
"I think more communities need to do things like this to educate the people, or to at least know where to go to get some help," Richardson said.
Families gathered to hear from speakers like Richardson, and do sessions to learn how to handle bullying and ways to prevent it.
"It's important for the adults to pay attention to it and try to create environments that are bullying free. That gets passed on to the kids," presenter Denise Kervin said.
"We have to make things different; we have to make things better. If you have a problem and you just brush it under the rug, it doesn't make that problem go away, and if we don't do something positive, i can really see this getting a lot worse," Richardson said.
"Bullying is not acceptable and we need to be more empathetic to the people around us and think about what you're saying, how it's going to be perceived and how that person is going to feel after you say it."