GREENFIELD — The community came together to protest bullying and promote peace at two separate events in Greenfield this weekend.

Well over 100 people gathered Friday night at Depot Street Park for a peace vigil, which was attended by the parents of Sammy Teusch — the young boy who they say took his own life earlier this month as the result of ongoing bullying.

Another event was held Saturday on the front lawn of the Hancock County Courthouse when roughly two dozen students, parents and other individuals spoke of the dangers of bullying and held up signs with messages like “Silence is Complicity” to those traveling along Main Street.

While some knew the Teusch family, others showed up at the two events simply to promote peace and show their support.

Signs reading “Justice for Sammy” and “Transparency in our Schools” were among those on display at Saturday’s rally.

On Friday night, the message was that of peace.

Teenagers tossed a football in the park while little kids enjoyed ice cream. It was the perfect sort of summer night that Sammy — an active, outdoorsy kid — would have loved.

Jeanin Taylor, a Teusch family friend and mother of three kids — ages 9-16 — organized the event.

A woman wears a hat bearing a message of hope at a peace vigil Friday, May 17 at Depot Street Park in Greenfield. Shelley Swift | Daily Reporter

“I wanted to organize the vigil to not only show my support to Sammy’s parents but also to raise awareness against bullying and the effects it can have on individuals,” she said.

Jessica Harter brought two of her young sons to the vigil, where those in attendance ended the night by lighting candles in memory of Sammy.

While Harter didn’t know the young boy, she wanted to show her support while showing her sons the value of coming together as a community.

“We had a house fire in December and we lost everything,” said Harter, who was living in Knightstown but has since moved her family to Greenfield.

“I was telling the boys that (coming to the peace vigil) is like when we went through something very tragic. Everybody came to our aid and helped us out tremendously. Even if it wasn’t financial or anything like that, it was just by being there,” she said.

“I want to teach them that is so important to mourn with those who mourn, and to be there for people who are going through these traumatic experiences,” she continued, “but then also teach them, ‘What can we learn from this? What is there to learn?,’ because we have to make sense of it somehow.”

One woman who spoke at the vigil shared how the bullying she endured as a teen is still memorable to this day.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” she said, recalling one particular time when one of her bullies yelled out a derogatory nickname he had for her in a very public setting.

“I was humiliated and heartbroken,” she said, confessing to even contemplating suicide to escape the the ongoing ridicule, which made her doubt her self worth.

“I look back on that experience and I just want to stress that things will get better,” she told the crowd. “I’m so thankful that God took me down another path other than suicide. Now I’m a proud mama, a wife, a business owner and I’m very happy with my life. I see now the hole that I would have left behind if I would have chosen a different path.”

She encouraged those who are struggling with bullying to seek support, and to not let the bullies’ words sink too deep.

“Once you graduate from high school and you get out you realize … that they really don’t matter. Do not let somebody’s opinion of you affect your self worth. You are valuable, you are loved and you deserve to be here,” she said.

Taylor said spreading hope is what Saturday’s peace vigil was all about.

“Bullying policies at schools have to change,” she said.

“Bullying is not just happening within schools but also on social media. Young children don’t understand the impact social media can have and it is important for the parents to monitor their child’s activity … Nobody is perfect, but we should know when enough is enough,” she said, referring to Sammy’s death. “Being a parent myself plays a huge part, as I would not want any other family to have to go through this unimaginable tragedy ever again.”