Community members gather to bring bullying awareness for back to school

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Communities across the east are preparing students for the school year ahead, not just with supplies, but also with how to handle bullies as well as feeling comfortable around law enforcement.

No more distractions, that  was the motto at Saturday’s Back To School extravaganza. Members of the Greenville Police Department and Port Human and Health services talked to kids about the importance of staying on a straight path.

“There are a lot of things going on in the world today and children really need to be able to focus when they go back to school,” explained Jacqueline Simmons-Deloatch, whose 9-year-old son Harrison has been a victim of bullying before.  and he says what he learned today made him stronger.

He said what he learned Saturday made him stronger, “Some people bully me just because I act crazy a little bit. So, you know, I learned that you can always be yourself.”

Students like Harrison were told about the dangerous implications of getting involved in drugs alcohol, and gangs.

Event Coordinator Lavern Blackwell wanted the presence of officers to remind the kids that there is always someone to talk to. The officers stressed the importance of having a good relationship with them.

It didn’t take long for everyone to feel comfortable enough to ask about other concerns in the community.

“I think it was very important for my son to see a positive role model, especially with everything that’s going on today between police and the minority community,” said Simmons-Deloatch.

Officers stressed to students that they are there to keep them safe at home and even at school. “What to do if they saw something, who can they talk to, and, you know, we advise them to talk with a teacher their parents and then a police officer if they see a police officer,” explained Greenville Police Sergeant K.Z. Thomas.

Students said they now feel more comfortable around officers and learned how to say no when confronted with peer pressure.

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