Rallies will honor Alex Moore, address bullying

Published 11:10 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

The parents of Alex Moore want something positive to come from their daughter’s untimely death.

The family, along with Alex’s friends, is rallying to bring awareness to the issue of bullying in schools.

Jim and Jill Moore are the parents of 15-year-old Alex Moore, the Jemison High School student who jumped off an Interstate 65 overpass May 12, killing herself.

On Saturday, May 22, friends and classmates of Alex have planned two events at Ollie Park in Clanton. A program at 4 p.m. will allow students and others to talk and remember Alex. That event will be followed by a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m.

Both events will also raise awareness about bullying in the school system, Jill Moore said.

The Moore family believes bullying was one of several factors that contributed to Alex deciding to end her life.

Jim Moore said the family asked the school system to not “let this slide — don’t let it go away without investigation.”

In the past couple of years, Alex lost her sister, her cousin and her favorite pet. On top of that, Jim Moore said he now believes Alex hid how severely she was bullied in school.

He said several students have recounted to him specific instances of when Alex was bullied.

“I didn’t realize it was going on as much as it was,” Jim Moore said.

Jim Moore said he would not allow the issue to just fade away.

“They are perfectly willing to blow this off, and this isn’t going to happen,” Jim Moore said. “I’m not wanting or trying to cause trouble. I just don’t want this to happen to another kid.”

Alabama state law requires school systems to adopt a new anti-harassment policy by July 1. Chilton County Superintendent of Education Keith Moore said the system is working to finish its policy by the end of next week.

Once finished, the policy will be displayed at the central office 30 days prior to adoption for public review.

Keith Moore said the system is looking at state guidelines and what other school systems have done as Chilton County finishes its own.

Sheriff Kevin Davis said investigators in his office haven’t determined what role bullying played in Alex’s death, but “with everything that has surfaced … I think we’re foolish to say bullying didn’t factor in to some extent.”

The sheriff said he thinks it’s important to bring everyone to the table — students, parents, schools administrators and teachers and law enforcement — to see “what we are going to do and what is our reaction going to be.”

The superintendent said the school system is working to stop bullying.

In addition to adopting the new harassment policy, Keith Moore said he is planning a principal’s meeting and a program to be given in schools at the beginning of school this fall. Both will focus on ways to recognize, report and prevent bullying.

Keith Moore said he is also setting up a professional in-service day for administrators and teachers that will focus on bullying.

“We are trying to do everything we can to help make sure our students are safe,” Keith Moore said. “This is something I’m very serious about.”