OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs Middle School hosted a very special guest on Tuesday.
Mrs. Ocean Springs 2018 Karen Horn spoke to the seventh and eighth graders about bullying, the platform that helped win her the title.
"Many children don't know what they're doing when they're bullying. They don't know the real definition of it. So we're trying to teach them the definition," she said.
Step one in Karen Horn's strategy to end bullying is to teach kids what it means to bully.
As the current Mrs. Ocean Springs America, she says anti-bullying is her passion and holds somewhat of a personal connection.
"I was bullied all through elementary school, all through junior high. And it really affected me as a grown up," she recalled. "I want them to think. Are you doing any of these things. Are you talking about other people behind their backs."
Horn's message made a lasting impact.
"Just because I don't see it everyday doesn't mean it doesn't happen," said OSMS seventh grader Brielle Streitmaetter. She will soon be competing in a pageant at school. While a platform isn't required, she says if it were, her's would be anti-bullying.
"I do think it's an issue and it is happening around school, just not everyone does see it," Streitmaetter said.
"I've never really seen that much because the people I hang around with don't really act that way," added OSMS eighth grader Elliot McGray.
Students said bullying isn't something they see everyday, but they know it's happening.
McGray said something he learned during Horn's visit was that adults can be the victims of bullying too.
"Most of it was stuff that I haven't really heard," he added.
"Treat people the way you want to be treated. That's our key thing. If we treat everyone the way we want to be treated then we can stop this," Horn said.
The Mississippi Department of Education has helpful resources if you think your child is being bullied at school. Click HERE to visit the site.