No Place for Hate Conference Teaches Student Leaders to Combat Bullying

Student leaders from 22 middle schools in North Texas and Oklahoma came to Fair Park in Dallas on Friday, not for the food and fun, but to learn how to combat bullying in their schools.

"How do you identify yourself in terms of gender," and instructor asked one of the breakout sessions. "Where are you getting your cues and signals about race?"

The sessions are designed to challenge stereotypes and let students express their true selves, so they can help others do the same.

"I was bullied viciously in 6th grade," Amanda McCormick from Southlake said. "So I've always been an advocate for standing up for people."

"It actually happened to me this year... he told me I was ugly," YaMun Hempstead of Red Oak said.

She also admitted she's been on the giving end of bullying. "Yes," Hempstead said. "It's not a good feeling, feeling it and how I made other people feet, it hurts worse."

According to the Anti-Defamation League, 30% of students report being victims of bullying. With social media, it's no long confined to playgrounds.

"Kids can pick on one another 24/7," Regional Director of Anti-Defamation League Texoma Cheryl Drazen said. "The notion that we can change climate, culture, to make bullying not a thing and uncool, not the way that campuses want to behave, is tremendous."

The hope is that the student leaders will take the lessons learned back to their schools, and use them for the rest of their lives.

"Talk with them. Be their friend," Isaac Dominguez of Rowlett said. "Don't bully."

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