Students go orange for Unity Day, stand up against bullying

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- October is Bullying Prevention Month, but Wednesday marked an extra colorful effort to fight for harmony in the hallways.

Students across the country, including here in Shelby County, wore orange to send one unified message of support and inclusion.

PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center sponsors Unity Day.

WREG visited Alcy Elementary School, where students wore orange and took a unity pledge.

Students held hands and said, "Hey, hey what do you say? Alcy School celebrate! No bullying! No bullying! No bullying day today!"

School counselor Talisha Burnett said the most common bullying complaint she hears is name-calling. Burnett is on hand everyday to resolve these matters, along with a school bully patrol manning the hallways.

"We just tell them speak out that someone's bullying you. We want this to be a safe community," said fourth-grader and patrol member Kayla Graham.

District leaders said they believe schools are making gains.

The SCS manager of student behavior and leadership, Randy McPherson, said the past two years have included more events to raise awareness. He said all counselors, teachers and students undergo some kind of bullying prevention training.

"We were actually able to reduce the number of bullying and cyberbullying offenses in our school district by 10 percent from the 13-14 to 14-15 year," McPherson said.

Updated numbers for this year are not available yet, but the district has to report all bullying offenses to the state.

McPherson said that if children encounter any form of bullying, "The first thing is let's talk to an adult."

"If we do not know the problems that our children are having, we aren't able to solve them," Burnett said.

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