D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - When you are face-to-face with a bully, Jim Fiore wants students at D'Iberville Middle School to take a stand. Fiore is a self-defense instructor in D'Iberville. He developed "STOP," a series of steps aimed at bringing a peaceful solution to bullying.
"I want to give them hope. I want to empower them. I want to give them a procedure. I want to make sure that they're not being victims, that they're being victorious," said Fiore.
The "S" in STOP means speak up with a strong voice. "T" is talk to the bully with courtesy and respect, instead of name calling. "O" is observe your surroundings. Find escape routes and put up physical barriers between you and your attacker. Finally, "P" stands for protect yourself with a defensive posture.
"My hands are close to my face to protect my throat and my face," Fiore demonstrated to the students.
"If you're ever bullied, you should do what he said," said fifth grader Taylor Delahoussaye.
Fiore also shared a personal story about losing a long-time friend in high school.
"Henry committed suicide. Henry hung himself by his own belt in his room, because Henry was bullied," he told the crowd.
"If you see someone bullying someone, you need to stop, so that doesn't happen to one of my friends," said fifth grader Davin Kendrick.
"That's always going to stay with me, and something I never want these kids to feel or be associated with or have that memory," said Fiore.
Fiore believes change starts with breaking bullying behavior and giving victims a voice to fight back with courage, confidence and character.
Fiore owns American Martial Art Academy in D'Iberville. All students and staff at D'Iberville Middle School receive a discount if they enroll in his anti-bullying program. He then donates the proceeds to the school.
Schools on the coast that are interested in Fiore's anti-bullying program can contact him at (228) 238-7444.