EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - East Grand Rapids senior Will Thoms contacted the program organizers of the Be Nice campaign because, he said, he has seen the effects of bullying in schools.
Be Nice , now in its third year, is gaining some traction in Kent County with 14 schools now participating. East Grand Rapids is among the new schools in the program, an effort by the Mental Health Foundation of Michigan to empower students to recognize and report bullying.
Statistically, one in four students will become the victim of a bully at some point in their school lives. Bullying, mental health experts say, is often a contributing factor in teen suicide.
Organizers admit measuring the success of Be Nice may be difficult but maintain this is an important first step.
"It has a total effect on someone's mental health, how they think, how they act, and how they feel," said Christy Buck of the Mental Health Foundation of Michigan. "This would be like CPR to the brain."
In May, participating schools spelled out the message "Be Nice" and took pictures from a helicopter. Those photos will be placed on the side of Grand Rapids buses.
Police are investigating a report of a home invasion, but say there are inconsistencies.
A Kalamazoo County sheriff's deputy will not face criminal sexual conduct charges.
A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night for an innocent bystander who was shot and killed in October.