Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 9, 2013

Former Boyd bully hopes to transform culture in schools

CANNONSBURG — Two years ago, Scott Callahan woke up one night at 3 a.m., grabbed the yellow legal pad he kept on his bedside table, and started writing.

He had been brooding about a chapter in his life he thought was closed, a time stretching from his elementary through middle-school years during which he treated his schoolmates badly.

In short, the Boyd County High School sophomore was a recovered bully, and having conquered his own demons was searching for a way to save the next generation of children the misery that comes from bullying.

Two years later, now a senior, Callahan has parlayed his pad of scribbled notes into a seminar he hopes will transform the culture in Boyd County schools — and one day schools across the state — into a bully-free one where students stand up for one another.

Callahan, 17, presented his seminar Friday to Boyd County eighth-graders, who listened raptly to his account of mistreating others and later rushed to sign a pledge promising they’d abide by his anti-bullying suggestions.

“I was a bully from the third to the ninth grades. All forms — physical, mental, emotional. I made other kids fear school. I made them hate it,” he said.

Paradoxically, he did it hoping other students would like him. “I thought I’d be top dog.”

It may have worked in a narrow sort of way, but as Callahan matured and became an upperclassman in high school, he came to realize how precious his school years were and how he’d been cheating others out of that.

“I love high school. I love the education and the social life and the chance to develop my abilities,” he said. “But some kids fear school — because of bullies.”

Speaking to the eighth-graders in the new high school theater, Callahan offered them what he believes is a sure-fire way to snuff out bullying. His approach amounts to a school-wide commitment to solidarity. “You don’t have to love someone. You don’t even have to like them. You just have to stand behind them,” he said.

The show of unity will face down bullies every time, he said.

Callahan is ambitious. He envisions his seminar being used in schools across the state.

If that happens, he may have to recruit others to present it because he will be busy. He is bound for Morehead State University and later plans to attend law school and has his eye on a Harvard law degree, the Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort and possibly the White House.

His call to eighth-graders to promise their support for one another resonated with Danielle Morris and Cassie Bailey, who were the first and second in a crowd of students signing their names to the pledge.

“Everyone can make a difference and I think I can be one of them,” Danielle said.

Callahan’s delivery was so powerful his prescription should be equally effective, Cassie believes. “I’ve seen people fall asleep at these things. To see people so alert and focused shows they get it this time,” she said.

“He captivated the kids,” said Boyd County Middle School principal Bill Boblett. “He got and kept their attention, which is not easy for eighth-graders.”

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

Text Only
Local News
  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone