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Anti-bullying group gathers for candlelight vigil (w/video)

By Carolina Astrain
June 4, 2014 at 1:04 a.m.
Updated June 5, 2014 at 1:05 a.m.

Jeannie Decker, right, of Victoria, holds a lit candle with her granddaughter, Brianna Hernandez, a third-grader at Smith Elementary, during a candlelight vigil held to support  bullying victims in DeLeon Plaza , Texas on on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Decker is an organizer with the Victoria group,Parents Against Bullying in VISD, who held the vigil. "We are hoping to get the awareness out there, and for parents to listen to their kids," Decker said. Brianna was the victim of school bullying this past school year, and Decker was called to the school when the incident happened last October. Brianna's face still bears a mark from the incident.

Brianna Hernandez ran through the downtown plaza holding a candle with a withering flame as it moved through the air.

On her face, a healing patch of skin covered a vanishing injury she suffered after being pushed down by another classmate on the playground.

"I felt kind of sad because I really like school, but when he pushed me, I felt really sad," Brianna, 9, said. "I don't like being bullied."

The Victoria school district elementary school student was joined by 20 other supporters at DeLeon Plaza in downtown Victoria for a candlelight vigil for victims of bullying.

The event was co-coordinated by Brianna's grandmother, Jeannie Decker.

"I don't want people to think this is just about Brianna; this is about all the children," Decker said. "We're about being a support system."

Since a photo of her granddaughter's wounded face appeared on Facebook, Decker and several other Victoria parents have come together to spread awareness, forming Parents Against Bullying in VISD. The incident involving the girl was not officially classified by the district as bullying.

Two weeks ago, the group gathered in front of the VISD administration building to protest the way the district enforces bullying and called for harsher consequences for bullies.

Debra Hernandez, 38, of Port Lavaca, coordinates Anti-Bullying in Port Lavaca, which also has a Facebook page and has been active for the past year and a half.

Hernandez was also at the event Wednesday evening.

At Calhoun County ISD, Hernandez said the schools needs to offer counseling and anti-bullying programs for students. However, the district also does offer both.

"There should be consequences," Hernandez said. "Parents should be trying to be in more control of what their kids are doing at school."

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