'Go purple' Thursday for LGBT youth

Many with social media accounts will use this banner to show support for LGBT youth. (Source: GLAAD)
Many with social media accounts will use this banner to show support for LGBT youth. (Source: GLAAD)
WEINER, AR (KAIT) - Efforts to prevent bullying have gained a lot of attention recently. Millions of people wore purple Thursday for Spirit Day 2011.
The day was started last year as a response to the young people who had taken their own lives to escape the ridicule. Several school s in Northeast Arkansas, though, have stepped up their anti-bullying programs following the national attention.

"It's important that we stop bullying because it's leading to terrible things and a lot of bad consequences for kids," Weiner High School senior Carly Bradley said.

The Weiner High School is one of the schools cracking down on bullying, but it is also rewarding those who stick up for victims. Bradley and several other students helped share this message through song.

"By doing a rap, it just got everyone's attention, and they listened," Bradley said.

EAST Lab students at Weiner High School put together a rap video featuring freestyles from their teachers. The video highlighted the "Upstander" program, an initiative to watch for and report bullying.

"I'm not a very big rap star," principal Pam Hogue said. "I don't think I have another career coming."

Hogue says it only takes one person to stand up to a bully, and the school is rewarding those reporting the ridicule and supporting the victims.

"We don't have a lot of bullying, but the severe comes to me," Hogue said. "A lot of it gets cut off at the pass so-to-speak by the ‘upstanders.'"

Educating students about bullying extends to college as well. Arkansas State University wrapped up its LGBT History Month celebration Thursday. The Multicultural Center hosted several events clearing up issues facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

"We thought this was a great opportunity to bring LGBT History Month to ASU's campus to educate the campus and community about the LGBT population in general," Niya Blair, assistant dean of multicultural affairs, said.

Blair's office plans to hold other events throughout the year to ensure students are "culturally competent."

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