GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The social worker at a Harrison County elementary school says she has been getting too many reports of bullying. So on Friday, she helped organize the school's first anti-bullying pep rally. The event combined a lot of motivation, Mardi Gras fun and a serious message.
"Hey fat girl, get off the bus. It's tilting over," a group of boys told a girl.
It can start with simple name calling and escalate into threats of violence.
"Fight, fight, fight!" the boys chanted.
The skit told the story of a girl who faced constant harassment from her classmates. Sixth grader Ezereia James wrote the play based on her personal experiences.
"Just of things that I have seen at the school, like certain people, they might talk about somebody and I can look at that person and they're like, why are they still messing with me? Why do they do that to me?" said Ezereia.
"It hurts and it causes certain events to happen."
Orange Grove Elementary Social Worker Megan Smith said the anti-bullying pep rally will help students understand the signs of bullying and how they should handle the problem.
"We decided to hold one to raise awareness and let the whole school know that we are no longer accepting bullying. We never did accept bullying, but now it's gotten to the point where I get bullying referrals almost every day and we need to put a stop to it," said Smith.
One way is to reward positive behavior. The school handed out certificates, T-shirts and other prizes to "Terrific Kids" for good citizenship.
The students also chanted their anti-bullying class slogans.
"Just to learn don't talk about people. Just respect them for who they are. If they have a problem and you don't like them, just say it to yourself or write it down somewhere," said Ezereia.
Everyone at Orange Grove Elementary learned that they have to get behind each other to keep bullies out of school.
"They don't get pep rallies very often here and this is a way to motivate them, get them excited and send a positive message we care about them," said Smith.
"I hope that the children will no longer be afraid to report if something happens, and if one student sees another student being bullied, I hope they will stand up for that person. They need to stand together as a team, as a community, to help stop this."