PORTLAND - Lincoln High School senior Alan beard says high school has been a great experience, but he remembers school days when a walk through the halls or a ride on the bus wasn’t easy.
“In middle school there were a lot of anti-gay slurs directed at me and I questioned whether life was worth it,” Beard recalled.
He will see the new film “Bully” opening in theaters Friday. It profiles five families and their struggles with bullying during an entire year.
Related: Shawn Levy reviews "Bully"
Research shows more than one in five kids experiences emotional or physical bullying.
“I notice movie clips I’ve seen are of kids being bullied on the bus and that’s one of the toughest places for a kid because it’s tough to find someone to turn to for help and there’s no one watching,” said Beard.
Beard, who came out to classmates last year, is now watching for trouble. He’s part of a program called Stand for Courage aimed at stopping bullying of all kinds.
“We want to show kids it’s cool to do the right thing,” he explained.
Beard is on the advisory council made up of students from a handful of Portland area high schools.
The idea, according to founder Nicole Carroll, is to reward students who have the courage to stand up and do something.
“We need to celebrate their actions and say the mayor and the Trail Blazers are proud of what you did. The students need to be encouraged by people they see as successful.”
Carroll is a child psychologist and would like courageous students to receive free tickets to concerts and sporting events.
Former NFL and UO football player Anthony Newman is on the Stand for Courage board. He knows bullies are just looking for attention.
“They want to get a laugh but when a bystander comes forward that shuts it down.”
Alan Beard believes more bystanders are showing courage and that hearing stories about desperate kids is making a difference.
“To think that young kids get to a point where they don’t want to be around anymore that has scared students and encouraged many of them to get involved,” Beard concluded.