Mid-South schools taking steps to address bullying following violent acts on campuses

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kids in crisis. Bullying. Guns.

A troubling trio school districts across West Tennessee are trying to put an end to.

In the last month, two teens were shot by other kids. The kids behind the gun cited bullying as the reason for pulling the trigger.

“In the 8th grade, I was being bullied and I wanted to do something about it,” said JaRieya Sanders, World Anti-Bullying Card Program.

SEE MORE: New details emerge after juvenile charged for shooting at teens he said bullied him

So, Sanders did. At 13-years-old, she started the nonprofit World Anti-Bullying Card Program. Along with her sidekick Jade, a puppet that helps get the message out.

”Some kids have a hard time expressing how they feel to an adult,” Sanders said.

Through the nonprofit, she hands out these cards. It allows kids to check off a box to describe the type of bullying they’re experiencing, as well as name their bully. And, report it to an adult.

“A lot of times when a child is being bullied by that certain bully, other kids are as well. The moment they stand up for themselves and advocate for themselves, they advocate for others,” said Erin Williams, Arlington Community School. To end bullying, schools are also stepping up.

SEE MORE: Memphis high school student creates anti-bullying organization to help end violence

School districts across West Tennessee participated in unity day, a day where people are encouraged to stand up against bullying and cyberbullying.

“We like to bring up bullying and talk about the harmful effects of bullying and normalize that bullying isn’t cool,” said JaNeair Johnson, Arlington Community School.

Arlington Community Schools and districts throughout the Mid-South called on people to wear Orange to send a clear message that bullying of any kind is never okay.

“We want to make sure they know bullying is a consistent, persistent behavior, mean and unwanted touch or words that are not welcome,” said Johnson.

It’s a movement Sanders is happy to see gaining momentum while she also works to eradicate bullying in her own way.

“it’s nice to talk to people your age going through the same thing you may be going through,” said Sanders.

Click here if you’re interested in helping JaRieya’s nonprofit continue to grow.