McAllen Memorial High School fighting against bullying

(Source: KGBT Photo)

One McAllen high school is doing what it can to fight against bullying.

"It doesn't matter your sexual preference, your religion, your race, you’re welcome here," says Valeria Carpenter, an English teacher at McAllen Memorial High School.

That's the message students at McAllen Memorial are trying to spread and they're launching different challenges to combat bullying.

"Obviously bullying is something that can tear down your self-esteem and make you feel less confident. But with things like our kindness challenge or our no name calling week, I think we'll help students feel more comfortable coming to school," Elise Lizka, Vice President of Student Council, said.

This week, Student Council decided to host No-Name Calling Week, with the idea of spreading kindness to others.

"It makes people realize, kind of take a step back, and see that everyone goes through it and we can be the people that end it," Katy Slusher, President of Student Council, said.

They even pulled inspiration from a popular mural in Austin to encourage their classmates to ask each other how they're doing on notecards.

"We're just passing them around to different students so that they can get to know each other and basically starting the conversation about mental health," Lizka said.

It's not just students stepping up, school officials are taking extra measures to keep students from being bullied too.

"We have procedures in place, whether a student comes to the counselor directly, or a teacher comes to the counselor directly, then we work with our administrator to make sure that it's addressed," said Leigh Ann Gutierrez, Lead Counselor at McAllen Memorial.

If a student is targeting others, there are certain consequences they could face.

"From there, then the parties can decide on what happens to both of the students or if there's a larger group to make sure that we do fulfill the safety needs of all parties involved," Carpenter said.

Gutierrez says compared to past generations, there have been less incidents of bullying on campus. A trend she attributes to the fact that more and more people are speaking out.

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