The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

October 2, 2013

Empowering students to prevent bullying

Former Miss Indiana returns to hometown where she says she was bullied

(Continued)

ANDERSON, Ind. —

The ultimate humiliation for Mason happened during homecoming week. That is when the students took a picture of her, blew it up into a poster and during a pep rally they chanted, “you are ugly.” She said several students then chased her from the bleachers with water guns and drenched her with water.

Mason said the situation became so unbearable she did the unthinkable.

“Suicide is three times the homicide rate in Indiana,” she said. “I did not know what to do. I failed, thank God.”

Mason said the experience still haunts her, which is why she hosted a Bullying Charity Concert in Anderson last night to help raise money for an anonymous crisis hotline. Students can call the hotline if they are being bullied and get help for the situation. She said she only returned to Anderson after talking to Terry Thompson, the principal of Anderson High School.

Thompson said he thought Mason’s story was shocking. He said a recent school survey, however, revealed that 200 of the 1,900 students self-identified themselves as a bully or a want-to-be bully.

“This is something I will not tolerate,” Thompson said of bullying.

He said Mason’s message was important for students to hear.

Maribel Rivera, 16, said she has never been bullied, but she has seen people bullied at the school.

“It is mostly the girls who wear a lot of makeup or want to hang out with the guys that get bullied,” she said.

Gema Rodriguez, 16, agreed with her friend.

“They make fun of them,” Rodriguez said. “It isn’t the shy people.”

Ben Watson, 17, said the bullying at the high school is mostly verbal.

“It was a really good story,” he said. “Her story was really inspiring.”

Kel Raines, 18, is a senior and an aspiring model. She said she has been a victim of bullying for more than three years.

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