MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One out of every five students in the country has reported being bullied.

On Wednesday, a St. Paul charter school made a concerted effort to fight that statistic.

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As part of Bullying Prevention Month, Nova Classical Academy put on a “Unity Day.” The kids were on board.

“I really like that my school does it, and I appreciate that they try to stop bullying,” said Jasper Walker, a fifth-grader.

This event is put on by PACER, a nationwide organization that fights bullying.

“I really do like being super duper nice to people, because it makes me really nice inside,” said Brooklyn Williams, a fourth-grader. “It makes me feel like nobody should ever be bullied. Even if you don’t like them you can still be nice to them.”

In-classroom activities and signing one big banner are the highlights of the day.

“I definitely have been bullied before, mainly on the bus,” said third-grader Seraphina Elverum Buxton. “But I try to let a teacher know and address it. And that’s pretty much what Unity Day is all about.”

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This effort was started seven years ago by Lower School Principal Brooke Tousignant when she took the job.

“Sort of giving them those tools if they want to step in if they’re feeling like they want to support a friend,” she said.

And a bonus, it’s a break from those school uniforms.

“Yes. That’s another plus of Unity Day,” Walker said.

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center says that school-based programs can decrease bullying by up to 25%.

PACER will hold a virtual benefit featuring comedian Steve Martin on Nov. 13. Proceeds will support PACER’s work on behalf of children with disabilities and all students who are bullied.

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Ren Clayton