MISSOURI CITY, Texas—Educators say the problem of bullying is getting out of hand in some schools.
In Missouri City’s Baines Middle School, which participates in the Rachel’s Challenge program, educators have stressed kindness and compassion in a bid to tackle the issue.
"I actually changed. I’m not as mean to people or calling them names and stuff," student Thalia Noriega said.
A recent survey found that one out of every four children in America is bullied – mentally, verbally or physically.
"They’re the closest to it. They’re in a position to do a whole lot more about it than we are. And, we try and teach them through this club and other activities we do here at school how to address it so that it doesn’t happen again," counselor Maria Brockie said.
Two years ago, bullying was blamed for the suicide of Cy-Fair eighth-grader Asher Brown.
Last year, lawmakers called for tougher laws during a town hall meeting in Houston, and now the issue has the attention of Congress.
The State Schools Improvement Act, which was introduced this week, would require schools and school districts to adopt strict codes of conduct prohibiting bullying and harassment.
"We as parents, we as adults, we as a community have to break the walls and open the doors and see the bigger picture," parent Kimberly Fenner said.
"Being kind is equally contagious. And I think, that as a parent, we need to reinforce that with our children," parent Julie Moise said.
It’s a lengthy and sometimes difficult process, but they hope they can turn the tide through kindness, compassion and – now – a big push from the government.