Shreveport teen working to stop bullying - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Shreveport teen working to stop bullying

Melvin Stringfield speaks to Lakeshore Middle School students at the End of Year Pep Rally (Source: Nicolette Schleisman, KSLA News 12) Melvin Stringfield speaks to Lakeshore Middle School students at the End of Year Pep Rally (Source: Nicolette Schleisman, KSLA News 12)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Bullying is a problem across the nation. But one Shreveport girl is encouraging her peers to bring change.

Kaiya Perry is just 13. The soon-to-be eighth grader at Donnie Bickham Middle School says she was bullied in the fourth grade.

This girl said that, we were outside playing, and she kicked dirt on me and she was telling me, she was bullying me about my skin color, and told me that I was already dirty, and that's why she kicked dirt on me," said Perry.

Kaiya took that experience and turned it into something that will help others.

She began the non-profit "Project: Be Bully Free" and Thursday, she spoke to a group of about 100 of her peers at the University of Lakeshore Middle school in hopes they will avoid what she went through.

Lakeshore's assistant principal admits, bullying, or cracking Lakeshore refers to it, does happen at their school, but says it is not a major problem.

"They think that it's joking, and they just like going digs with each other," said Felicia O'Neal, the assistant principal at the University of Lakeshore Middle School. She continued, "they don't realize that their cracking is hurting other students' feelings."

O'Neal says they have conversations at Lakeshore with bullies, educating them that their words might be hurting others. She says those conversations happen at least once a month.

According to national statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, up to 33 percent of students in the United States say they have been bullied at school. Research shows most of it happens in middle school.

That is why Perry wrote a book aimed at younger kids so they know what to do when they see bullying.

"I wanted them to know that it's okay," said Perry.

Starting with mentoring her peers.

Perry's program focuses on IRE squared, that stands for: Identify, Report, Educate the person being bullied and Educate the bully.

"Identify that you're being bullied, or that somebody is being bullied. Report to a teacher or parent or guardian and educate the person being bullied, and tell them that it's not their fault, whatever they did. And the person that's bullying, just tell them how their actions are affecting others," said Perry.

Her book "Sonya Stops the School Bully," is not quite out yet, but you can pre-order it here

Copyright 2016 KSLA. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly