Opelousas, La. (KLFY) – Bullying affects many children in school. But for one family, bullying turned to tragedy when their 12-year-old son took his own life.
12-year-old Jaqwanta Goodley committed suicide last week. After hearing of his death, Opelousas resident Clarence Stagg said he knew he had to do something. He organized a Stop the Bullying March Monday evening as a tribute to Goodley.
“That really hurt me so I wanted to start a march so we can put an end to this before it really gets started,” Stagg said.
Stagg is the founder of the Developing Our Youth Program in Opelousas. Many of the kids he works with walked in the Stop the Bullying march, stretching from North Park to South Park in Opelousas.
“We just need people to talk to their kids and their parents, find out what’s going on in their lives,” Stagg said.
“It’s time. It’s time for us to reach out to our community, our family, our moms and our dads, the schools and let them know, when these kids go to make a complaint, you have to take it serious,” Marvin Richard said, the city’s alderman at large.
Opelousas Police Chief Donald Thompson led the way and Richard marched along to show support. Richard says parents should monitor their kid’s social media for bullying.
“I think a lot of that is on Facebook and on Twitter and on other social media they have out there,” Richard said.
For Stagg, he says if a child is being bullied, it’s time to speak up and speak out.
“If you’re feeling bullied tell somebody, you know what I’m saying. Speak up. If you’re not at home, you’re at school when it’s happening, speak up to the teachers. When you get back home tell your parents you know so we can try to do something about this,” Stagg said.