Anti-bully rally held at HISD school

Images from an anti-bully rally held at Memorial Elementary School in west Houston (Photo by: John Mizwa)

October 20, 2010 10:25:47 AM PDT
In what may be the first of its kind in the nation, dozens of local elementary school students rallied against bullying today, declaring their school a bully-free zone. HISD is trying to spread awareness about the effects of bullying after a Cy-Fair student who was allegedly bullied took his own life. Students, teachers and police were fired up at today's rally at Memorial Elementary School. They were shouting warnings to bullies, telling them they will not be tolerated because they are not welcomed there.

"Do we want bullies at Memorial?" asked the school's principal.

"No," yelled the students in unison.

The message is loud and clear -- bullies back off, because you won't find any support here.

"Bully-free zone and bullies are not allowed," said student Francisco Vasquez. "This school doesn't allow bullies."

"We don't want any bullies in our school," said student Yasmin McQueen.

Armed with bold, handwritten signs from Pre-K to the 5th grade, hundreds of Memorial students gathered for a massive anti-bullying pep rally and they had backup. Houston police described what a bully is and how it makes other feel and urging students not to go down that path.

"Do you know what a mentor is?" an HPD officer asked a group of the students during this morning's rally. "A mentor is somebody you can look up to. These guys are looking up to you. You have to be a mentor for these guys. When there's bullying with one of them, you guys have to step in. It's your responsibility."

PTO parents partnered with police and organized the rally about a month after Cy-Fair ISD middle school student Asher Brown killed himself. His parents say he was constantly taunted by bullies for his sexual orientation.

"We are hoping to instill some values into our kids to not become bullies. That words are very hurtful and they have damaging effect," said one concerned parent with whom we spoke.

It was a day filled with fun, but comes with a stern message. Whether it's teasing, hitting or discriminating, it's bullying and it won't be tolerated.

The principal said they have not had a lot of problems there with bullying, but they have heard from some students. He encourages parents and students everywhere to speak up if they're having a problem with bullies...because it could save a life.