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Birmingham 5th graders win national anti-bullying campaign

5th graders in Dr. Yuvraj Verma's class at Martha Gaskins Elementary. (ABC3340)
5th graders in Dr. Yuvraj Verma's class at Martha Gaskins Elementary. (ABC3340)
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Since the COVID-19 pandemic, those who work in area school systems say bullying has increased. The majority of it stemming from social media.

Fifth graders at one Birmingham school are taking a stance against bullying.

A group of 37 5th graders at Martha Gaskins Elementary won first place in a national anti-bullying competition. The project involved social-emotional learning, brainstorming solutions, speaking, writing, and using technology.

The students created a video for the 2023 PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center's "Students with Solutions” competition.

"We had to pretty much create lines about antibullying, like create a message for students who are bullies and students who are victims of bullying as well," 5th grade teacher Dr. Yuvraj Verma said.

Dr. Verma said bullying is a problem that requires all hands on deck to solve.

"I think bullying is a very big issue in schools but I think it really is important when we put students at the forefront and let them kind of discuss with their classmates and peers about how it's not acceptable," he said.

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Students said they participated to do just that.

"I wanted to send a message to people that people have feelings too," Kennedi Ivey said.

"I wanted to help those who are getting bullied around the world and I wanted to also help our community," 5th grader Luis Vargas said.

"(I wanted them to) See that they're not alone and we care for them," 5th grader Hailie King said.

"There's a lot of bullying happening in the world and I just think that it should stop," 5th grader Bethany Burroughs said.

For those like Burroughs, it stops with someone speaking up.

"If it's the person who's bullying I would ask would you stop or can you stop," she said, "and then if its the person who's being bullied I would ask them are they ok, do you want to go to the counselor's office?

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Dr. Verma said the students received t-shirts and posters along with recognition from the Birmingham City Council.

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