Anti-bullying '#BeKind' movement spreading through area schools

- A few years ago, Good Day Atlanta introduced to a Cherokee County elementary school sharing the message #BeKind. Now, what started at Hickory Flat Elementary, is growing into a movement that's changing schools from the inside out.

It's a simple message, but it's one that goes a long way. Everyone at Liberty Elementary School, in Canton, is rallying behind #BeKind. It's a movement that's starting to sweep through schools around the Southeast.

You can't miss the school spirit and Lion Pride as you walk the halls of Liberty Elementary School. You also can't miss the bold words, #BeKind.

"It's been a real simple focus on the positive for us," says Liberty Elementary Principal Doug Knott. "The simplicity of the message is what's the beauty of the message."

The school has taken on the campaign as a way to share kindness, and the students seem to get it. "I like how everybody knows it and how it's spread. Nobody is mean to each other anymore," says 5th grader Ryan Sager.

The message is also staying with the students and staff, once they get home. "Be kind for me, as a parent,  helps teach the kids to be kind outside of school, in the house, at church, everywhere. It's just a reminder to do the right thing," says parent and PTA co-president, Tammy Rhodes.

"The kids are really taking the time to actually see what they're doing and appreciate the fact that their kindness is making a difference in the lives of the people around them," adds Principal Knott.

The #BeKind movement began as a small way for two PTA moms, Shannon Coughanour and Abby Mack, to try and put a stop to bullying and bad behaviors.

"We tried to think about, how can we make a positive difference? How can we teach people what it looks like, what it sounds like, what it feels like to be kind?" Explains Shannon.

And it's still catching fire, spreading to schools outside of Cherokee County, and outside of Georgia. "It's caught on, it's caught on in this community, it's caught on in other states. I heard about #BeKind in California, Arizona, , North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas," Shannon adds.

Now registered as a nonprofit organization, the women hope to bring it to more schools in the area. "It is our hope and intention, that by bringing it into the schools at an early age, that it becomes the everyday norm for these children," Abby says.

"They really understand kindness. It's a really simple concept, there's no confusion about what being kind is and there's no confusion over what not being kind is," says Principal Knott.

Principal Knott also says other anti-bullying programs seem to have increased bullying and the reports of issues in the past, while the #BeKind initiative seems to have helped with issues at their school.

To learn more, you can visit www.2bekind.com.

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