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Posted: September 26, 2013 8:02 p.m.

Stonecrest Mall retailers uniting against bullying

In an effort to teach children to be kind to one another and to reject bullying behavior, the Mall at Stonecrest will launch “Malls & Retailers Unite Against Bullying” Oct. 1 in association with National Bullying Prevention Month, sponsored by Captain McFinn and Friends.

The mall will invite the public to sign an “Anti-Bullying Pledge” daily at Chick-fil-A in the food court during regular operating hours and at select events during the month.

Malls & Retailers Unite Against Bullying is an extension of an ongoing program for children, based on the lessons of Captain McFinn and Friends. The stories revolve around the underwater inhabitants of the fictional world of Sand Dusty Reef. Captain McFinn, their hero, is a black-tipped reef shark who used to be a bully. He has transformed into a hero, friend and protector, teaching lessons about kindness, loyalty, honesty, empathy and care for the world’s environment.

The Mall at Stonecrest is participating in Bully Prevention Month to educate the public about how bullying affects everyone.

Recent high-profile bullying cases resulting in suicide have prompted schools to adopt stronger anti-bullying policies.

Still, many situations go unnoticed, falling between the cracks of the most well-meaning program.

It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students; one in seven students in grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying; around 56 percent of all students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school; bullying can take many forms, but it usually includes the following types of behavior: physical, such as hitting and pushing; verbal, such as slurs and put-downs; indirect, such as spreading rumors and exclusion; and cyberbullying via texting or the Internet.

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