HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - You may have heard the statistic that 1 in 4 students in the US is a victim of bullying, but bullying extends well beyond high school graduation.
"Is an 18-year-old high school Senior any different from an 18-year-old college freshman?" asked Madison County Deputy Sheriff Keith Reid, in his address to the Oakwood students.
Reid highlighted how bullying doesn't always end after high school, instead follows people into college and even the workforce.
Student Leandra Joseph says she has experienced collegiate bullying first hand.
"I know that may sound strange to people, 'people still get bullied in college? We're supposed to be adults.,' but I did get bullied in college," said Leandra. "It was a very negative experience for me."
Joseph says she found the resources to overcome the bullying, but many aren't as fortunate.
Reid says often collegiate and workplace bullying is often disguised as 'paying your dues,' and gone is the playground push and shove.
"[Coworkers] will start antagonizing you, saying things to you in the wrong way, saying inappropriate things to you," described Reid. "What this is, is trying to get you so scared you may not want to come to work anymore."
Whether the victims are 5 years old or 50, Reid says the only way to prevent the suicides, the self-harm, and depression that comes with constant bullying, is for people to speak out.
"We need to get it out there because if people don't talk to someone about what's going on it'll continue. So we need to start as adults saying we need to stop this, because if we keep our mouths closed it will never get addressed."
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Additional bullying prevention and suicide prevention resources can be find at the You Matter website.