GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Brookhaven woman has a personal story to tell about bullying. She was teased and taunted in grade school. On Thursday, she came to a Gulfport school with a message directed at all the girls there.
"How many of you have ever bullied before, raise your hands?" Kelsey Ann Jackson asked a group of girls assembled in the auditorium.
Some hands in the crowd went up. Jackson certainly understands the emotional trauma of being bullied. She lived it for five years, starting in the fourth grade.
"It's more psychological intimidation, being left out, not being able to sit at the lunch table. I got made fun of because I sang," said Jackson. "I would cry myself to sleep. I would cry in the mornings before I'd go to school, and I would get physically sick, because I was too terrified to go to school."
Jackson wanted to save others from being a victim of female bullying.
"You see it every day on the news, people being bullied and kids bullying at schools and you see it on Facebook all the time," she said. "It's a huge problem now, worse than it was when I was actually being bullied."
In the ninth grade, she created an educational program called "Mean Girls Aren't Cool." On Thursday, Jackson shared her life lessons with all the girls at Bayou View Middle School in Gulfport.
"I can't trust girls because of being bullied," she said. "Girls you have to stop and think, 'Hey, would I like to be treated this way?'"
"When she told the story of the girl named Emily who got bullied for being in band and not playing any sports and not being physically active and she hung herself in the bathroom, that really got to me. It's sad to see somebody go to extremes because they've been bullied," said eighth grader Emily Edwards.
Jackson is now a 20-year-old college student. The Brookhaven woman, once teased for her singing ability, is now using her voice to spread her message. She recently released a music video featuring Mississippi children called "Beautiful."
"I thought the music video she showed us "Beautiful", because everybody is beautiful in their own way and they have flaws," said eighth grader Aniya Steele.
All proceeds from the sale of her song will go toward bullying prevention programs. (For more information on buying the song, or to watch it on YouTube, visit: http://youtu.be/sMFNfT7Suvk)
"Really raise the awareness and let them see me as, 'Hey, she's okay, so I'm going to get through this,'" Jackson said.
The anti-bullying program was sponsored by the Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport. Jackson has spoken to more than 65,000 girls all over the country.