Local teacher combats bullying in unique way

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One teacher is aiming to make a difference by coming up with a unique way to combat bullying in the classroom. 

"Raise your hand if you have experienced bullying in any way shape or form," said reading teacher Alexandrea Knoll.

Almost every single student in Knoll's seventh grade class is breaking their silence.

"I had a really big head, and people used to talk about my head," said seventh grader Shanika Rogers.

"When people say thing about my hair. They say I'm bald and stuff, and I don't think it's fair,because it was my choice to cut my hair, and I didn't get forced to do it," said seventh grader Pharaja Noel.

Latest News Headlines from Action News

A recent poll at Eugene Butler Middle School found that almost one out of three students have cyberbullied on social media. It also found that 72 percent of seventh grade girls say they've experienced bullying personally.

Seeing and hearing about the pain from her students was enough for Knoll.

"My kids mean so much to me. And they all know that," she said.

She took it upon herself to start a movement called Be The Change. Her students will spend all four weeks of May tackling bullying through poetry, art


and self


"Be The Change is not just to end bullying. It's to provide our students with actual strategies to end conflict," she said.

Not only has their bond with Knoll strengthened, but they're also breaking down the barriers of bullying.

"Even though people bully people, they're still beautiful on the inside," said Rogers.

All of this is to ultimately build friendships through understanding.

For Action News on the go, sign up for Action News Mobile & Email alerts