Elkhart Community Schools holds anti-bullying assembly

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 11:42 PM EDT
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - Positive things are happening across Michiana to combat bullying.

Elkhart Community Schools hosted an anti-bullying assembly Thursday for parents, students and educators.

They partnered with Rio’s Rainbow.

“We want to give the people in the community a chance to come out and tell their story and be heard and even do some healing along the way,” said Rio Allred’s Stepfather Aaron Ball.

“Students and these parents are sharing similar stories over and over and over again and nothing is being done...,” said Rio’s Grandfather Jeff Bliler.

This school year, the corporation reintroduced an anonymous app for students, parents and staff to report any safety-related threat.

Over 100 cases have already been reported this school year.

There have been other wins too.

“I got a report yesterday of a child who stood up and protected the victim from a bully...That child had enough courage to stand up and say, ‘You’re not going to treat our friends like this. That’s amazing,’” said Mental Health Professional Marla Godette.

Parents have also been filling out more bullying incident reports and saving the documentation.

“We have to have an administration say, ‘we are going to be responsible for the people who enter our school building,’” said Godette.

Back in March, Rio, of Elkhart, took her own life after being bullied at Northside Middle School.

“Our family has seen the extreme and the worst example of those consequences when Rio chose to end her own life because of the extreme amount of bullying she was being subjected to on a daily basis,” said Bliler.

Rio’s family said we have to change the culture across the country, so kids feel safe.

“And so, we have partnered with Oaklawn and the Elkhart Community Foundation to try and build some resiliency programs within the schools to identify kids who might be struggling or need some help,” said Ball.