by Kirk Smalley
Ty Smalley was raised in the town of Perkins, just 15 minutes from the campus of Oklahoma State University, in the heart of Payne County. Perkins had always been a small town of modest, hardworking people. Unless you lived in Oklahoma, you probably never had reason to hear of it. But that changed three years ago, after something terrible happened.
For Ty, who was small and looked a couple of years younger than his 11 years, school was a waking nightmare. By sixth grade, he had already been the subject of unmerciful bullying for a number of years. Kids tossed food at him, and he was regularly jammed into lockers and garbage cans. Deflecting insults, coping with intimidation and suffering violence were part of the daily incidents as “boys being boys.”
Throughout it all, Ty maintained his good nature and ever-present smile. Unfortunately, his outward demeanor masked a great deal of hurt.
No one saw coming what seems inevitable now. On May 13, 2010, Ty was provoked into a fight at school and was suspended. Home early from school and left alone because his parents had to work, he took his own life.
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