The Statesboro City Council is inviting first lady Melania Trump to an anti-bullying event this summer, said council member Derek Duke.
The event, Anti-Bullying Day, was approved at the City Council meeting on Feb. 5 and is scheduled for July 27, 2019.
WTOC reported several hours after the meeting that city leaders plan to invite Trump, which had not been announced at the meeting prior to the motion to adjourn.
Duke said in an email that he had the idea to invite Trump after the approval of Anti-Bullying Day based on her advocacy against bullying.
“I am fairly experienced so I proceeded to ramp up the IDEA. Our Mayor joined,” Duke wrote in an email.
Duke said the council has “all indications” that the first lady of Georgia, who was also invited, will attend the event.
Jeff Klare, founder of the local Anti-Bullying Day, said the annual event started last year in Statesboro and then spread to Candler County and Evans County. He said he hopes to get it across the state of Georgia.
“I founded the program to make sure that the children of this county and the young adults of this county are safe,” Klare said after the meeting.
During the meeting, Klare explained the purpose of Anti-Bullying Day before the City Council approved the event.
“Just the other day, there was a lockdown at Statesboro High School because of this activity,” Klare said. “… Today, violence has gone sky-high, and you can be bullied through social media, at the dinner table, at one o’clock in the morning and the goal is to show that adults and children are all on the same page.”
Klare said the event will include dunk tanks, bounce houses, the South Georgia Tormenta FC soccer team and police officers with K-9 units.
“Kids, they’re not born being bullies,” Klare said. “They learn from their environment. And this is a national epidemic.”
Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar was reached for comment on Feb. 7.
Blakeley Bartee, The George-Anne Reflector Editor-in-Chief, [email protected]