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Former bullying victim speaks at summit on bullying

Updated: Wednesday, October 30 2013, 06:18 PM CDT
Reported by: Christina Butler 

GETTYSBURG -- A Cyberbullying Summit in Adams County attracted police, teachers, community leaders, and former victims of bullying.

One former victim was Taylor Alwine, now a senior at Shippensburg University. When she was in middle school, she says two girls turned on her and created rumors that she was pregnant at 13.

The rumors spread throughout the halls, but were especially damaging and hurtful online. Alwine had already missed some school because of an illness. Her mother says she ended up missing 60 days that year.

"I think it got to the point where I was feeling physically sick from it," Alwine said. "It was every day I would see stuff on MySpace, people would direct message me asking, 'Are you pregnant?'"

At the time, Alwine's mother says the school did little to help. "It's like they didn't believe it," she said. Alwine was one of several speakers at the summit which was put on by the Adams Coalition to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

Jim Holler, a retired police chief, shared recent news reports that made national headlines about teens and bullying. He discussed several ways to protect yourself and your kids online.

The most important message Alwine and her mother wanted to share was to always reach out if you are a bullying victim.

"It can get really bad, and as we've seen it can come to really disastrous results. We don't need that at all," Alwine said.

Her mother added, "Turn over anything you have. To police or the school, you never know. Do anything you can to be involved."  The summit ran all day on Tuesday. Former bullying victim speaks at summit on bullying

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