Horry County, SC (WPDE) — No one eats alone.
That is the goal at schools across the nation as part of an anti-bullying campaign. Fifth and sixth grade can be a tough time for students.
“It’s difficult because they’re getting to that age where they’re trying to find their-self, they’re trying to find that social group they want to be in,” said Tory Gibson, cafeteria manager at St. James Intermediate School.
School leaders do not want those awkward years to be tougher with bullying.
“We want our students to express what it means to be kind to each other, so nobody does sit alone, and to build relationships with other people, even if they’re different, think differently, it’s okay,” said David Cupolo, the principal of St. James Intermediate School.
That is why St. James Intermediate and other schools throughout the nation celebrated “No One Eats Alone Day”.
“If we see somebody who’s basically sitting alone, we, if we want, we can go over there and ask to eat with them so they don’t feel lonely and they’re not left out with everything,” said Haidin Crater, a sixth grader.
“People have to sit next to people that are alone, because some people don’t have a lot, as much of friends as other people do,” said Calista Christopher.
School administration are not the only people concerned with bullying. State representative Samuel Rivers is proposing a bill that would require children identified as bullies and their parents to go to counseling together.
“I definitely think it’s a step in the right direction. I think we need to start addressing it from that point of view,” said Chris Greene, a volunteer at St. James.
“It’s about changing behaviors as well as consequences, so that piece of it, if you’re looking to change those negative behaviors to stop those negative reactions with peers, that’s a positive side of it,” said Cupolo.
For now, students say St. James does a good job of stopping bullying, but it does still happen.
“At this age, a lot. I was bullied last year and it was not well,” said Christopher.
“For the way they look, the way they talk, and the way they dress,” said Keira Christian-McKeon.
The bill is being debated in a house committee on education and public works.