Marshall High School's Communities in Schools is partnering with Marshall area organizations to raise awareness for anti-bullying at school during the upcoming national Unity Day event on Oct. 23.

Marshall High School's Communities in Schools, an organization that partners with school districts to ensure students success, is partnering with Marshall Fire Department, Marshall Police Department and the campus' Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to host a local Unity Day on Oct. 23 to raise awareness for anti-bullying.

"Unity Day is a national day for anti-bullying and during this national anti-bullying month, we want to show unity and pride in our school by partnering with community leaders and organizations for anti-bullying awareness," CIS MHS Site Coordinator Taylor Thornton said on Wednesday. 

This is Thornton's first year with CIS on the high school campus and she said she wants students to feel comfortable speaking out against anti-bullying.

"When I came to Marshall High School, I wanted to promote unity within the campus and community by encouraging a healthy dialogue between students and community leaders," Thornton said. 

Marshall Police Officer George Gill, Marshall Fire Chief Reggie Cooper and PTA member Charlie Garbs  will be on campus during all three student lunches on Oct. 23 to hand out anti-bullying resources to students and talk with them about their suggestions and concerns.

Students and staff are asked to wear orange on Oct. 23, the national color of anti-bullying, to help raise awareness and show their support for Unity Day.

"Orange provides a powerful, visually compelling expression of solidarity," PACER Center Executive Director Paula Goldberg said on the Pacer.org website. "Whether it’s hundreds of individuals at a school wearing orange, store owners offering orange products, or a community changing a landmark to orange, the vibrant statement becomes a conversation starter, sending the supportive, universal message that bullying is never acceptable behavior."

Thornton said in her talks with students, she has also encouraged them to find an administrator or teacher they are comfortable with to report bullying on campus as the district has a zero tolerance bullying policy.

"Bullying happens not only on the elementary level, but the secondary level as well," Thornton said. "I started small groups with our students and talked to them about the proper steps of letting someone know about bullying, who to talk to and letting them know that they have the support of CIS and the Marshall High School administration."

Thornton works with about 100 students at the high school in her CIS program and she said she also hosts other activities to help them succeed.

"I have a journaling club that meets weekly and we do goal monitoring and career exploration," Thornton said. "I also have a mentorship program with Wiley College students coming in during lunch every Thursday to serve as mentors to the high school students."

Thornton said any businesses or organizations that would like to sponsor Unity Day at Marshall High School may contact her by calling 903-927-8894 or email her at taylor.cooper@cisetx.org

To find out more about CIS, visit their website at https://www.communitiesinschools.org/ and to find out more about the national Unity Day and October as National Anti-bullying Month, visit its website at https://www.pacer.org/bullying/