Bullying is still very much a problem in schools across the country. And while measures to tackle it are still being devised by school boards, minimizing instances of exclusion, verbal and physical abuse has remained a difficult feat.

That’s why many teachers in Tampa, Florida have been delighted to witness kids in their respective schools making it their duty to spread messages of acceptance and inclusion.

One popular student shocked teachers when he approached a new kid with a history being bullied:

Yes, students in the area have really done themselves, their teachers and their parents proud by showing kindness towards students who would otherwise have been treated as total outsiders.

Elio, for instance, has a very rare skin condition and this has unfortunately led to him being a victim of bullying throughout his life. His first day at Dowdell Middle School was pretty daunting, especially considering his history with the popular kids at school. However, the day unfolded in a way he really wasn’t expecting.

So what happened? Well, a fellow student called Chris, one of the school’s most popular kids, set his sights on Elio and went straight up to him. But rather than see him as a target for bullying, Chris decided to give Elio a little tour of the school.

Soon enough, the pair developed a bond and became friends.

“When you have a skin condition, it affects a lot of things, like how people treat you,” Elio told WFTS Tampa. “To have a friend like Chris, it feels good.”

And this certainly isn’t the only instance of kindness towards fellow students that has drawn public attention in Florida. Recently, local media reported that Demetra Johnson, a 16-year-old junior at East Bay High School, has taken it upon herself to make the other kids feel welcome.

“At first I thought you were weird because you were being so friendly,” said Tobi, a student who moved to Tampa from New York City. “I was just surprised someone was this nice to me.”

Teachers in the area have placed more of an emphasis on kindness in order to combat bullying, and it looks like it’s been having a profound effect on the kids.

“You never know what someone’s going through until you go up to people and have a conversation,” Demetra said. “Most people give back the same energy you give to them.”

Stories like these really hit home that showing just a little bit of compassion and kindness towards can make all the difference.

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