'I was bullied several years as a kid'

Channel 4's Ken Jefferson shares his story of being bullied, advice for others

Author: Staci Spanos, The Morning Show anchor, sspanos@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 14 2013 03:53:05 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 15 2013 08:10:00 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Channel 4's Crime and Safety Analyst stands 6 feet tall and weighs 220 pounds.  It's hard to imagine Ken Jefferson, the veteran police officer, being bullied.

"I was bullied several years as a kid. That's part of my story, a part of my life story," he said.

It happened to Jefferson in elementary school.

"These kids, these five kids, every day they'd meet us at the path and beat us up," explained Jefferson.  "We didn't have Jordans, we didn't have jerseys, we had change for lunch - our milk money. They would take that, they'd take our books and throw them out in the woods and we'd have to go back out in the dark so we could get them and do our homework."

Bullying is a very real part of our culture.  And as a parent, experts say you have to ay the ground work with your child ahead of time, so that they feel comfortable telling you if they're bullied.

"You've got to have a dialogue with your child to talk about things that are happening in school," said Jefferson. "You have to probe sometimes."

Once you know about the bullying, whether it's in person or cyber-bullying, Jefferson advises talking to a school principal immediately. And make sure you have all the information they'll need.

"The name of the person who is bullying your kid, when they're doing it, who they're associated with," said Jefferson.  "Make sure you let the administrators know that you're watching as well to see if they take some action to make sure your child is safe."

For Jefferson, those painful days of being bullied had a silver lining.  He said he knew then for sure that he wanted to be a police officer.  And he says, he's kept track of those five boys who made his life miserable all those years ago.

"The status of those guys is two are incarcerated, one's dead, one's on drugs, one's doing okay. I kept up with them," he said.

As for cyber-bullying, Jefferson suggests you put your child's computer in a common area, so you can monitor what they're doing.  Also, make sure you know they're passwords on every account.  And be aware, they may have another account you don't know about, that's why you have to keep your eyes and ears open to make sure you're a step ahead of them.