Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford has waded into the bullying debate - he's demanding school officials do more to educate youngsters about the dangers of taunting their peers.
Teen bullying has hit headlines in the U.S. in recent weeks following a spate of suicides among depressed gay youths who had been taunted by their classmates. And Halford, who witnessed bullying first-hand as a kid, is calling on U.S. school officials to implement more effective programs to reach out to troubled youngsters and their bullies.
He tells About.com, "It's important to look after each other and to nurture each other, especially in your school years. I saw bullying when I was a kid growing up in school. It has always been there. It's a very peculiar thing. It's a shame that it takes horrible tragedies like this to bring the spotlight back on. It has to stay there now. It can't just fizzle out in a couple weeks, like things tend to do in the media."
"Programs need to be installed in schools, or reinforced. Parents need to keep an eye on their kids a little bit more. The social interaction that's available 24 hours a day has to be utilized in a strong, educating, promotional way to let people who are going through those periods of their lives know that there's always somebody you can talk to."
And Halford is pleading with troubled teens not to suffer in silence if they are victimized by vicious bullies. He says, "Don't feel alone. There's a way we can help each other get through these types of difficulties."
Stars including Daniel Radcliffe, Brittany Snow, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres and Lance Bass have all spoken out on the subject of bullying this month in a bid to raise awareness of the issue.