ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va -- Jennifer Livingston, an anchor-woman from Wisconsin, has received national attention for her response to a viewer's e-mail, which criticized Livingston's weight. Her message went viral.
That YouTube video of Livingston has an important message about bullying. She said it is up to the adults to set a good example for their kids and that is just what local schools are trying to do to tackle this on-going issue.
The school bell rings and students flood the hallways. It is in the hallway where students, like Brice Estes, say kids get bullied the most.
"Walking down the hallways, last year especially, you would see tripping. You would see pants-ing. You would see books being shoved to the ground," said Estes.
As an 8th grader, Estes sees the problem firsthand. That was why teachers at Montevideo Middle School, like Tracy Myers, are working hard to stop bullying. She leads, what she calls, “circle groups,” where kids can talk about themselves and their problems.
"It just makes a person human to them,” said Myers. “It's not just a person walking down the hall, and it also gives them an opportunity, even if they know someone and there's a conflict, it allows them an opportunity to fix that conflict."
Bullying does not just happen among kids. After a viewer called a Wisconsin anchor fat in an email, she went on air to say it is the adults that are setting a bad example of bullying for their kids.
"If you were at home and were talking about the fat news lady, then guess what? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat," said Livingston during the YouTube clip.
Drew Miller, the principal at Montevideo Middle School, agrees and he said it is up to the parents to make a difference.
"We tell kids, 'Don't bully. Be kind and care for others,' yet then at night we watch shows that glorify and celebrate adults bullying," said Miller.
He said their school works hard all year to prevent bullying. Estes even wrote a play about bullying last year to bring attention to the issue and she said she has already seen a positive difference in her school.
"People will call you out if you're bullying and everyone kind of just works together after the play, so that really makes me happy to see the change because that was what we were all going for," said Estes.
It is the perfect time to talk about bullying, since it is bullying prevention month, but Miller said that discussion should not just once. That is why he said they have various programs throughout the school year to deal with bullying.
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