About one third of students have been bullied at school, according to bullyingstatistics.org. And nine out of ten lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender students have experienced a form of bullying because of their sexual orientation.
In an effort to reduce this number, the Gay Straight Alliance at Marquette Senior High School organized a Rally for Respect.
"I have a cousin who's gay, and I see it a lot...just people insulting other people, which I just really dislike. So that's why I joined," said Anna Clark, a freshman at MSHS and a member of the GSA.
Members of GSA and people of the community came together and walked from the high school down to the Marquette Commons downtown, holding signs and flags to show their feelings about bullying. They even had t-shirts made in support of their cause, emblazoned with the words, "Don't stand by, stand up," to encourage everyone to stand up to bullying.
"The support from community members, including a couple of our local area churches and people just in the professional community, have been really supportive of the whole concept. Rally for Respect seemed like the perfect title because we believe everybody needs to be treated with respect," said Patti Karwoski, Guidance Counselor at MSHS and Advisor for the Gay Straight Alliance.
The group's main goal is to raise awareness and, hopefully, end harrassment and bullying against the gay community.
"Some people think that bullying isn't a problem anymore in our schools. But you see it everyday. People might not be getting shoved into lockers, but they're getting called names behind their back. And so that's something that we really want to put an end to," said Aminda Johnson, a freshman at MSHS and President of the GSA.
Once they made it to the Commons, there was food and drink and music to enjoy, with a feeling of equality for all.