Local gym teaching students to be bully proof

(Source: KGBT Photo)

As students make their way back to school, a local gym is teaching students to be bully proof.

"We just want the kids to feel confident when they go back to school. We want them to have a sense of peace and not fear," Ernesto Esparza, Martial Arts Instructor from CMT Fitness, said.

Which is why education and awareness is key, according to Esparza.

According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, a national website to stop bullying, in 2017, approximately 19 percent of students grades 9-12 were reportedly being bullied on school property.

Schools are required to follow Senate Bill 179, also known as David's Law.

"There's David’s Law now, so schools with cyberbullying need to have a plan in place so students can feel comfortable to go get help from someone and there should be a plan in place to help them," Tim Tansil, Vice President of Tolerance with Kindness Overcomes, said.

A reality Esparza has witnessed firsthand while on school grounds during his 14 years of working as a coach at a school district in the Rio Grande Valley. Esparza says there are two key factors in preventing bullying in the classroom, teaching student’s self-defense and raising awareness on the issue.

"There’s always incidents of where students are getting picked on or teased. It gets worse every year, especially with social media now, that kids are using smart phones at such a young age. The bully doesn't stop at school, it just continues," he explained.

Information that 9-year-old Logan Garcia says he will use to defend his classmates if they become victims of bullying.

"I'll give them warnings and then if they don’t follow me, I’ll tell the teacher or principal or an adult that's next to me or near me that I can trust," Logan said.

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