COLUMBIA - A new campaign advertisement by Gov. Nikki Haley features a teenage girl who reached out to Haley after being subjected to bullying.
The 30-second ad called "Has my back" has Haley discussing her efforts to address bullying in schools, after she received a "suicide letter" from then-eighth-grader Amanda Crawford, of Pendleton. In the extended version of the ad, Haley talks about how she received multiple letters from South Carolina children reporting incidents of bullying, sparking her anti-bullying tour throughout the state's schools.
"I understood what Amanda was going through because I had been bullied when I was younger," Haley said in the ad. "And the one thing I wanted her to know was that we were going to take care of her, and we were going to find a solution to her problem no matter what it took."
Haley told Amanda to "go to school and I want you to hold your head up high, because I have your back." Amanda said Haley gave her hope. The teen said she now has "a heart" for others who get bullied, and tries to do anything she can to ensure they don't feel the way she once did.
"I've actually become stronger through this," Amanda said.
Haley proclaimed October Bullying Prevention Month in 2011. She visited Daniel Island School at the request of Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Charleston, at the time. She has continued her campaign and returned to the Lowcountry in 2013, when she visited the Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, where she reportedly told kids she was bullied because she is "brown."