MONROE, La. (KNOE) - In addition to October being National Bullying Awareness Month, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo has declared October 19th as "Bully Proof Awareness Day" in Monroe. Today, The Children's Coalition of Northeast Louisiana brought together local schools and city officials to empower the area to be "bully proof" with the color orange.
Local educators and officials from The Children's Coalition for NELA say everyone needs to be aware of the issue, not just parents.
"It takes a village to raise a child, and it's going to take everyone - it takes teachers, it takes counselors, it takes coaches," says Youth Development Coordinator with The Children's Coalition, Jan Daniels.
Ronnie Traylor, President and CEO of Child's Play II Development Center in Monroe, says bullying starts young.
"It starts with biting, and if you don't try to get a hold of that biting issue, it can escalate to hitting or scratching," Traylor says.
But both Traylor and Tammy Washington with The Children's Coalition say the earlier children learn to love each other and themselves, the better.
"To have those soft skills to learn how to love themselves and love others, and to be kind and know how to just be a friend, that's very important. You learn it as early as possible, because when they're in high school, you can still [still] teach it to them, but it's a chore," says Washington.
Officials from The Children's Coalition say bullying doesn't only have to be talked about during the month of October. It is an issue that happens every day, and they encourage parents and other authority figures to be aware - and for children to speak up if it happens to them.