Three members of Peach State Health Plan visited the sixth graders at Wilkinson County Middle School to talk to them about the negative effects of bullying. The assembly, titled, “No One Eats Alone,” focused on students who are being left out. They say millions of students in the United States each year are bullied, harmed themselves somehow, or gotten violent.

Joy Knight of Peach State says, last year, she was able to get through to a student at the school who told her at the assembly that she had suicidal thoughts. “She did it in a public forum in front of her peers so they could understand what they were doing and how isolating her, bullying her was making her feel. There’s nothing like hearing it from your peer. We can say it, we can tell students not to do it, but when they see the effects on someone they went to school with every day, that’s priceless,” said Knight

Students performed skits, made posters, and created drawings about what they perceive bullying to be.

Keldrick Burke is a coach and a teacher at the school. He said he talks to the students about the negative impact of bullying in the classroom. “I have those conversations with my students, 'Hey, guys, be mindful of how you say things to people, what you say to people, because you never know how people will take,'” said Burke.

Burke went to Wilkinson Middle School when he was younger. He says that he was bullied for his weight despite being an athlete. He makes it his mission to sit with students who are eating alone at lunch. He says that being able to come back and impact these kids means a lot to him and he is happy to do it.