SAN ANTONIO – Posting comments or rumors about someone online that are mean, hurtful or embarrassing is considered cyberbullying and something that many young people and even adults have to deal with now.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and SABULLYFREE Campaign founder Epi Quiroga has made it his personal mission to stop bully behavior by asking students to take an anti-bully oath.
Quiroga started the campaign in honor of his late brother, Robert "Pikin" Quiroga, San Antonio's first world champion boxer, who he said was killed by his "middle school bully."
"The guy that took him out was a bully throughout our community," Quiroga said. "He didn't just hurt Robert, he hurt a lot of other people, so (we) go out and talk to the community and let them know that hate, envy and jealousy kills all dreams."
To spread the anti-bully message on Wednesday at Huppertz Elementary School was especially emotional for the Quiroga family because that's where Robert Quiroga went to school, and because on Wednesday would have been his 49th birthday.
More than than 600 students took the anti-bully oath.
"I think it's a good idea so he can share his message with everyone," said Julianna Ruiz, a Huppertz fifth-grader. "Maybe one day, there won't be as much bullying as there is today."
Ronnie Cantu, principal at Huppertz said the message is important for students, parents and the community.
"We want our kiddos to know that their words are very powerful," Cantu said. "Their actions are very powerful as well, and that taking a stand today, here at Huppertz Elementary, I think is big. Hopefully, a lot of the other campuses here in San Antonio ISD follow the same route."
San Antonio City Council Districts 1, 2, 6 and 7 and the mayor's office together donated about $6,000 to the SABULLYFREE campaign, allowing for more presentations.
"We're making a march across San Antonio, and we're sharing our message," Quiroga said. "We're trying to stop this behavior in our community."
So far, more than 25,000 students have taken the anti-bully oath this year. Quiroga is hoping to visit at least 15 schools by the end of this school year.