ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Across the nation children, and families deal with bullying and its effects.
One school is working with parents to make a difference. Westover High school students got a unique welcome focusing on bringing awareness to the issue of bullying.
It all started when students got out of their cars and walked through the doors. One advocate wanted to make students think twice before they use hurtful words at school or through social media. She teamed up with members of the community to make it happen.
Tawanda Taylor is a mother and a counselor, who knows about bullies. "I deal with it on a daily basis. It doesn't just affect the children. It affects the support team," she said.
She knows what it's like to deal with bullying because it's an issue she's dealt with first hand. "It was just difficult because we felt helpless for them as they endured the pain, the agony, the anxiety," said Taylor.
Taylor recognizes it exists here in Dougherty County and she wants to do something about it.
When students got to school Tuesday morning, they walked in with a message from other students. "It can hurt, not even just you physically, but emotionally, so we want to discourage that type of behavior here at Westover," said senior Deondria Hawkins.
"They can help other people who they know are getting bullied to stop it, because it's not right," said freshman De'ideja Greene.
From administrators, "They can come and speak to us at any time, any administrator, any resource officer, any teacher," said Principal William Chunn.
And community members, including police officers and postal workers. "They see us out actively from day to day in their neighborhoods because that's what we are here for, to service this community," said Albany Postmaster Gene Lofton.
Taylor knows she can't stop all bullies but she thinks she will get through to a few. "It's my hope if I can only reach one person, just one child or one adult to help raise awareness to help them speak out about bullying than my mission has been accomplished."
She hopes students in school today will think about the signs and friendly faces they saw this morning. The goal is to convince them they're not alone. "A smile can help anyone's day when they are having a bad one," said De'ideja Greene.
Taylor's efforts don't stop here. This Saturday she's putting together a bullying prevention rally in Pelham, Saturday 1:00-3:30 at the Thomas and Son Building, 113 McLaughlin Street, with food entertainment, games, and prizes.