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Jackson honored for anti-bullying efforts

Brookhaven’s leading anti-bullying crusader continues to takeher message around the state, and earlier this week she took it tothe Mississippi Legislature.

In a fitting beginning to National Bullying Awareness Week,Kelsey Ann Jackson, 17, was applauded by the Mississippi House ofRepresentatives Tuesday for her ongoing fight against bullying inschools. Lawmakers approved House Resolution 84, which commends andcongratulates Jackson for teaching her personal anti-bullyingprogram, “Mean Girls Aren’t Cool,” to students around the state, aneffort that “bring(s) the Magnolia State much satisfaction.”

“It was kind of surreal being there and being honored by all ofthem,” Jackson said of her appearance at the Capitol. “It meant somuch to me. Not a lot of people get these resolutions.”

Kelsey said bullying is a huge problem in Mississippi, and shedraws on personal experience. She developed “Mean Girls Aren’tCool” based on her own experience with bullying at a young age, andcontinues to propagate the program to young students across thestate with a string of speaking engagements at schools and otherevents.

The National Education Association estimates as many as 160,000students nationwide miss school each day for fear of being bullied.According to facts presented in Jackson’s program, as many as halfof all children are bullied at some point during school, and beingbullied may cause long-term drawbacks on a child’s educational andpersonal development.

Tragic stories rooted in bullying nationwide, combined withon-the-ground movements like Jackson’s, have caused lawmakers inMississippi and around the nation to take a closer look at bullyingrecently.

Earlier this month, Gov. Haley Barbour signed into law SenateBill 2015, meant to prohibit bullying or harassing behavior inpublic schools. The law seeks to define bullying and add it toschool districts’ lists of actions requiring discipline.

The anti-bullying movement has gained momentum, and Jackson isstill pushing it forward. Earlier this week, she served on thestudent advisory board for Students Against Destructive Decisionsfor the Teens on the Move Conference in Jackson, which was attendedby more than 1,000 students from across the state.

This summer, Jackson will travel to San Antonio as a guestspeaker at the National Conference on Female Bullying. Not only isshe scheduled to speak, but leaders there are talking to her aboutthe possibility of writing a children’s book.

“I would love to do that,” Jackson said. “It would help me getthe message out. For girls in that age group, writing a children’sbook would be an excellent avenue.”

Jackson already uses one anti-bullying children’s book in herprogram, “The Recess Queen.” Having a book of her own would allowher to fine tune the message, she said.

“It would put me out there more and allow me to say, ‘Hey, I’mserious about this,'” she said.

District 92 Rep. Becky Currie, who authored HR 84, commended heryoung constituent’s work from the House podium.

“We in the Legislature may have fallen a little behind,especially behind this young lady,” she said of Jackson. “She hashad her own anti-bullying campaign going on for years.”