Watertown-Mayer schools will host a popular guest speaker next week that will speak to students about bullying, drugs, alcohol, self esteem and suicide. But unlike most school assemblies, this nationwide tour will also include a public session later in the evening.
Phil Chalmers, who bills himself as “America’s Leading Expert on Juvenile Homicide,” will kick off his fall “True Lies” tour in Watertown on Oct. 1. He will lead two programs during the day — one for middle school students and one for high school students — before also leading a third program that is open to the public at 7 p.m. in the Watertown-Mayer Performing Arts Center. Watertown-Mayer school board member Tim Thompson, who helped bring the program to Watertown, said he believes it’s important for the community to be involved.
“I’d love to see the PAC packed with people,” he said. “I think its important and I think the community needs to be involved with it as well. The community needs to say ‘this has to stop’ or kids will keep on bullying.”
Chalmers is best known as an expert on teen violence who has interviewed more than 200 teen killers, including many of the nation’s most high-profile school shooters. Chalmers tries to get inside their mind to understand why they killed and if society could have stopped them. He has written numerous books, Inside the Mind of a Teen Killer and The Encyclopedia of Teen Killers.
But Chalmers also considers him self an expert in youth behavior, youth culture and youth entertainment. He has been studying youth culture for 25 years, and his annual October bus tour to schools throughout the nation focuses on bullying, self esteem and suicide. Thompson said he approached the school board about brining Chalmers to Watertown after previously seeing the Ohio resident speak at a convention in Duluth.
“I called him after a couple instances last spring in neighboring districts with kids committing suicide,” Thompson said. “One of the things he said is that he’s had kids call him and say ‘You saved my life yesterday. I was at your school assembly, I was on the verge of suicide, and you saved my life.’ It’s a pretty powerful message and he does a great job with his presentation.”
Chalmers has made numerous television appearances, and his work has been featured on Montel Williams and Howard Stern. Chalmers can be seen on the E! Network shows “Billionaire Crime Scenes” and “Too Young To Kill.” He was also featured on the Spike TV show “Don’t Be A Victim.”
In addition, rapper LG Wise, who is traveling with Chalmers on the tour, is also scheduled to perform his song, “Tonight,” during the assembly. The song is done in conjunction with a video created by Chalmers that carries an anti-bullying message. LG Wise is a rapper known for Christian rap and songs with positive messages.
“In all honesty, the video that he does is pretty cool,” Thompson said. “It’s pretty powerful. It’s not my genre, but you can really understand what he’s rapping, and there’s a message in it for the kids.”