DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - Baldwin County is arming its students with a tool that could keep them safe on and off the campus. It's part of a new effort to fight bullying in the county.
Bullying is a threat that faces student all across the country, and the potential dangers can be just as devastating as any mass shooting we've heard about in the news.
"Just for example, girls that are bullied are more than eight times more likely to be suicidal. Boys that are bullied are more than four times more likely to be suicidal. That in itself is enough of a reason for us to want to be involved," Baldwin County District Attorney Hallie Dixon said.
Dixon said the DA's office is teaming up with school leaders to combat the problem before it reaches her office as a criminal case.
"What we hope to do is perhaps be part of an effort, to get involved, intervene and prevent some of the pain and the hardship and the grief associated with criminal acts prior to them being committed," she said.
The school system and the DA's office are launching an awareness campaign with the help of an organization that is spreading the word nationwide.
The Cox Family Foundation with the help of country singer Matt Kennon is sponsoring an anti bullying "video showdown" competition. Students will create their own videos to illustrate Kennon's song, "You had to Pick on Me."
"There's 160,000 kids in America that stay home every day because of bullying, and I wanted to start something in Alabama that was good," Alan Cox said.
Baldwin County is also focusing on a long term response that involves "The Talk About It" program which allows students to anonymously report bullying and engage in text message or email dialogue with trusted school staff members.
There are also student peer helpers in all Baldwin County schools.
One student said he joined the group after he was bullied on a school bus.
"I was actually sitting on the bus, and was having a hard time on the bus itself, because the people in the back, you know, the very stereotypical group that will bug you on the bus. And there was a guy there, and he was my kind of saving grace. He was the one that made me feel alright that I could actually get through the bus ride," Jamin Pope said.
The 11th grader believes his school system is moving in the right direction in tackling the problem.
March 4 is the deadline for submitting the student anti bully videos for the "Showdown" competition.
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