EDUCATION

'Welcoming Schools' program takes a stand against bullying

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - It’s a struggle that strikes students everywhere: they’re teased and tormented by bullies. Now, there’s an urgent effort to stop the intimidation.

A 12-minute educational video by the 'Welcoming Schools' program at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation is offering solutions to the bully beat-down.

'What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, & Bystanders' features real-life conversations about the impact of bullying and the power students have to stop it.

Dozens of people packed Cleveland Elementary School in Northwest Washington on Wednesday for the premiere.

"One of the reasons we made this film is because we know educators are hungry for tools like this that will help them better be able to address these issues," said Welcoming Schools Director Kim Westheimer.

“This is an issue that effects everyone,” added David Esquith with the U.S. Department of Education. “It affects communities, schools and families."

Research shows 160,000 kids in America stay home daily because of bullying, and close to 76 percent of students report witnessing it.

“I see people hitting each other, calling people names and it makes me feel bad,” said Cleveland Elementary fifth-grader Aliyah Matthews.

“It's not right and it's mean,” added her friend Tedra Seegers.

The 10 year-old from D.C. has a fresh emotional wound from being a victim.

“I was being bullied again a few minutes ago,” she admitted. “I got pushed into a lamp and almost hit my head.”

Seegers’ classmates also know the pain.

“Somebody was talking about me and calling me names and making fun of my size,” said Jhara Brockington.

Nine-year-old Gary Murray says enough is enough: “Bullying is not the kind of type I like.”

He and his friends hope videos that teach tolerance helps them rise above those trying to knock them down.

For more information on the video, click here.

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