SAN ANTONIO – Bullying is a real problem online and in schools.
To make sure their students are safe and kind to each other, the Catholic schools of San Antonio are working together to empower their children.
On Tuesday, students and staff wore orange and celebrated Solidarity Day.
Q: Why is Solidarity Day important?
A: "We can certainly talk about bullying, but we want to spend most of our time talking about what really matters in our world: treating each other with kindness, respect, building up and empowering our children," Veronica Ball, director of counseling and guidance services for the department of Catholic schools, said. "Through those qualities that are going to be so important for them today and for their future."
This is the second year for the celebration, and the idea is to treat everyone with respect and to make the hallways and classroom a safe space.
"Statistics are showing 1 in 5 children are experiencing bullying in schools and we felt, as a community, we could reduce that number to zero," Ball said.
Q: Have you seen a change since Solidarity Day began?
A: "Yes, a whole change in the community and how we treat each other as a whole. There’s no discrimination between each other; we all treat each other as a family and come as one," Alyssa Manitzas, an eighth-grader at St. Luke’s Catholic School, said.
All of the children wore orange Tuesday, and there were also special presentations and events.
"Orange is big and beautiful and bright and exciting, and it really unifies us as a community against the consequences of bullying we know which can sometimes be fatal for our children," Ball said.
Q: What does this day mean for you?
A: "We can’t just stand by and let it continue," Maureen Molak said.
Molak’s son, David, was bullied so badly he took his own life. The Molak family backed David’s Law, which gives public schools more power to fight against cyberbullying.
Molak said Solidarity Day is important to teach children at all ages.
"Teach them to stand up against bullying and that means to maybe reach out. To the people being bullied, tell an adult or if they feel safe to stand up themselves against bullying; it takes courage," Molak said.