KUNA - Bullying is big problem at schools across the country, including in Idaho. Now, a 13-year-old at Kuna Middle School is determined to put a stop to it.
7th grader Olivia Strickland says she's been bullied, and now she's courageously speaking out about her experience.
I am small for my age, and I get called a lot of names, Olivia told a class at her school. We all have our differences, it's not my fault that I'm small. It might be my mom's fault, but it's not mine!
That joke helps to break ice on a subject that is very painful for Olivia.
It hurt me that I was bullied, she said. I want to get the message through to the bullies that it's not okay. The bullies think they are better than other people, and they are really not.
Olivia was recently crowned Miss Idaho Junior High. She stepped in as a contestant at the last minute, and incredibly, took the state title with her anti-bullying platform.
We just filled in for a girl who dropped out and we did our best, she said.
Now she speaks statewide at community events and at schools. Her message is clear.
Number one, don't be a bully, number two, don't be a bystander, and number three, be helpful and not hurtful, Olivia explains. We can all be better, I know we can be better.
Olivia had some special guests at her speech -- members of the Kuna High Football team, who came out to support Olivia's anti-bullying message.
Her mom was there to support her too.
I'm so proud of her, said Bonnie Law. She's been able to get out in our community and share her story.
Olivia is currently raising money to compete for the Miss America Junior High pageant in Florida in July. She wants to take her anti-bullying message nationwide.
For more information on how you can help her get there, click here.