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Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. recounted the calls from traumatized adults who are victims of bullying to emphasize how much harder it is for children and teenagers to cope with it during a presentation by his office of a proclamation declaring October as National Bullying Prevention Month.
"I've had adults come to me about social media bullying, and if it affects adults, it affects our students event more," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez was joined by students from the International Baccalaureate program at McAllen ISD's Lamar Academy, along with school and school district officials and members of the DA's Victims Unit and Civil Juvenile Division.
IB students Valeria Arguelles and Sara Mendez took turns reading passages of the proposed proclamation. Immediately following the reading, Commissioners Court was united in approving the proclamation.
"Various researchers have concluded that bullying is the most common form of violence, affecting millions of American school children," read Mendez.
Following its approval, Arguelles said, on behalf of the students present, that calling attention to the issue outside of school will help spread awareness.
"Being advocates for kindness and empathy is something we take pride in," said Arguelles. "We need to be mindful of how the actions of our words can affect people."
Bullying is physical, verbal, sexual, or emotional harm or intimidation intentionally directed at a person or group of people.
McAllen Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Jose A. Gonzalez thanked Commissioners Court for the opportunity for the student's voices to be heard.
"We appreciate you taking the time for recognizing Lamar Academy, and allowing our students to speak on behalf of bullying prevention," said Gonzalez. "Our students are caring individuals, and we feel it's important for all of our students to feel loved, nurtured, and, above all, safe in our school environment."
County Judge Ramon Garcia commended the students.
"You are an impressive group of young adults; thank you for all your efforts," said Garcia.
Bullying often occurs in neighborhoods, playgrounds, schools, and through technology, such as the internet and cell phones.
"I applaud these students for being the forefront of spreading the 'Stop the Bullying' message," said Rodriguez. "I urge these school children to keep up their efforts."
Photo: Students from the IB program at Lamar Academy, McAllen ISD officials, law enforcement and representatives from the Criminal District Attorney's Office joined Commissioners Court for an anti-bullying proclamation Tuesday.