GRESHAM, Ore. – Students at North Gresham Grade School started their Wednesday with the school’s weekly assembly.
But when a group of students took off their coats to reveal pink anti-bullying T-shirts, everyone knew the message for the day.
Fourth grade student Hannah Anderson spoke to her fellow students at the assembly to tell them she’d been bullied in the past. She said that was a lot harder than confronting a bully.
“A lot of my friends get bullied and I try to help them, and so I’m not really afraid of that,” she said.
Fifth grader Khemren Pruganan also has experience with bullies.
“I’ve seen somebody calling somebody names,” Purganan said. “So I told them to stop and they didn’t stop, so I told a teacher.
“Hurting someone or hurting their feelings and making them, like, sad is just not good good.”
The idea of a day-long educational event was the brainchild of parent and volunteer Denise McCloud. She’s lived in Canada, where schools everywhere spend the final Wednesday in February focusing on the issue.
School leaders felt students need to learn how to stand up to bullying now because they’ll need those skills before getting into social media and Internet use.
“It’s so important early on to learn how to build a tool kit to deal with bullying and to deal with understanding how to be a really positive, connected person with other people,” said McCloud.