FRESNO, Calif. - Regal Hollywood Merced is doubling as a classroom for 180 fourth graders at Pioneer Middle School. Their lesson designed to address a growing bulling epidemic in the U.S.
"We're all a part of a bigger family. When don't see individuals differences we look at each student as an extension of ourselves and we want them to feel the same thing," said Pioneer Middle School educator Jennifer Labiento.
Teacher Labiento says over the last few weeks her students have embraced the New York Times best seller "Wonder" by RJ Palacio.
"It warms my heart to see their reactions because the empathy we've seen in the classroom is phenomenal," said Labiento.
Students got to see the Hollywood adaptation that tells the story of August Pullman. A fifth grade boy with facial differences who attends a main stream elementary school for the first time.
"What matters is what comes from the heart," said fourth grader Cyaisa Teal.
"Everybody's the same," said fourth grader Jose Hernandez.
"Choose kind and don't just bully other people just 'cus of their looks," said Mialani Harshman.
According to stop Bullying.gov, almost 30 percent of students between sixth and 12th grade, nationwide, experience a form of bullying...
Seventy percent of those surveyed say they have witnessed bullying. The numbers grow with the abuse of social media through cyber bullying.
Educators at Pioneer wanted to make sure they drive home that lesson of compassion so their students can change that statistic.