Orion Middle School has a new anti-bullying and self esteem program for students called P.R.I.D.E. It stands for perseverance, respect, integrity, determination and effort.
The school is using their half days to dedicate to each one of these themes to instill these values in their students and stop the hate.
"They would tell him go find a hole, go die in it, we don't want you around, why are you alive?" Holly Cox says of her 11-year old son, Austin's, experiences.
She says Austin has been bullied since third grade.
"They would tell him things like, ‘Oh we read a news article, and it said Austin jumped off the bridge and committed suicide, and it was my best day ever,'" Holly Cox says.
"It was hard, one time these two kids boxed me in so I couldn't get the teacher and they fought me," Austin Cox says.
There were consequences for the kids in some of these incidents, but it didn't stop it from happening.
"I felt I was alone, I felt alone and no one would help me," Austin says, "I don't know what would drive people to do this."
Now Orion Middle School is running programs like P.R.I.D.E to stop stories like Austin's from happening.
"It focuses our efforts and allows every kid to see that everybody in this building is determined to see character values pursued by all students," Principal Tiffany Springer says.
Hands-on activities make serious topics fun, but also get the point across.
"They had to use toothpaste to outline the motto their group chose, then the real task at hand is to put the toothpaste back in the tube," Springer says, "Obviously that's an impossible task."
"Once your words are out there, just like the toothpaste, they can't be taken back," she says.
The program doesn't just focus on bullying, but other important life lessons too.
"If we can't get them to overcome or compensate for those pieces like bullying, self esteem or valuing who you are as a person, the academic piece won't ever come," Springer says.
As for Austin, he says the situation is slowly getting better with the new program and a new school.
"It helps little by little because I've seen a couple people that have been mean to me, they've started to understand."
805 Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52803