An epidemic around the world has an area teacher stepping up for change. It's all in an effort to help shed some light on a dark issue.
"Bullying when I was in school was a problem, it has now become an epidemic," said Sarah Murphy.
Sarah Murphy is a 6th grade teacher at John Muir Middle School in Wausau. She says she's no stranger to bullying.
"Everyone can remember a time when they're bullied and I still remember those times from when I was younger and I was bullied and it just hits home for everyone, it's just a personal thing," said Murphy.
"Yes I've been bullied, mainly it's rumors and just bad things said about you and it makes you feel like you're not important but that's not true because everybody is important, said 7th grader, Mikahla Klug.
"Students don't get how hard bullying is they might just think they're joking around with a friend but one little mistake can change your life," said 7th grader Erin Gruber.
A change that Murphy is fighting for.
"It is a big problem here I think it's a big problem everywhere it's more relevant than ever that bullying is happening every single day on the buses at school, at home, in the halls, in the community, so we need to do something about it," said Murphy.
Murphy received grant funding through the Wausau School Foundation for a project called "I Am Somebody." It raises awareness about the effects of bullying and how to stop it. National speaker Kirk Smalley is spreading his son's message Tuesday night in Wausau. One that Murphy hopes will change people's outlook on bullying.
"Ty Smalley was 11 years old and he was relentlessly bullied at school and he was shoved into lockers, they would take his gym clothes and hide it from him just say really mean things and than he would go home and they would IM him and say mean things on the computer and it just got to the point where Ty couldn't handle it anymore and so he took his own life," said Murphy.
A life that Murphy says was cut too short because of bullying.
"I think the students are going to come away feeling empowered, I think they're going to be ready for change," said Murphy.
Change that may soon be on the way as Kirk Smalley prepares to share his son's tragedy with the community.
The event will be held Tuesday night at Wausau East High School starting at 7 p.m. It's free and open to the public.