Cleburne ISD is one of many districts across the state taking a stand against bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month.
CISD students will participate in various activities throughout October, one of which is today at Coleman Elementary School. A group of fifth-graders, led by James Leifeste, plan to present an original anti-bullying skit to the student body to raise awareness and promote the importance of kindness and respect for others.
“I hope the kids will see how we should show respect,” Leifeste said. “We shouldn’t be ugly to people. We should go the extra mile to do good deeds for people.”
Dr. Ayman Arouse, a pediatrician on the staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne, said bullying begins in elementary school but typically becomes more troublesome in middle and high school.
“It’s not an uncommon issue,” Arouse said. “In a pediatric office, it’s a topic you see — not daily, obviously — but you see it. You get parents sometimes asking how to cope with it and kids asking how to handle it.”
Leifeste said he decided to do something to combat bullying after watching an anti-bullying movie with his cousin.
“It was an amazing movie,” he said. “It really touched our hearts and made us think. We don’t want our friends or someone in our family to feel the way bullying had made the kids feel in that movie.”
Coleman counselor Valerie Ard said 11-year-old Liefeste’s desire to make things better is typical for him.
“He’s always oriented toward a mission,” she said. “Last year he brought us a proposal relating to community service, and now he’s leading this anti-bullying project. James always has a cause, and he is so compassionate and polite. We feel he will be a politician someday.”