BRISTOL, Va. - Bullying is no laughing matter, but that's just how one school is hoping to tackle the issue.
Virginia Middle School is using comedy to educate students about bullying in hopes they stop it altogether.
Respect isn't something you'll always find in middle school. Take it from seventh grader Abi Vincill; she said she sees bullying happen all the time.
"Walking through the halls, just this little tiny comment you can hear, and then you just keep walking because you don't want to stop and get involved," Vincill told News 5.
Keith Deltano, a self-proclaimed 'serious comedian,' is getting involved in a way kids can understand through humor.
"When you laugh, you actually release endorphins that make you memorize what you're going at the time," Deltano explained.
Over the past few years, Deltano told us bullying has grown from happening just in school hallways to actually happening in the entire online world."
"These kids go home and boom! They get a text. Boom! They're on facebook! Boom! They get a twitter, and the whole world is there to see that," said Deltano.
According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals, an estimated 18 million kids will be bullied this year.
That's a statistic that's 18 million kids too many for educators like Gary Ritchie.
"Statistics show at times, that students make decisions to drop out of school or not attend school," said Gary Ritchie, principal of Virginia Middle School.
Ritichie told us, he's hoping a few laughs and some serious talk from Deltano can make a difference, and students like Abi Vincill will have the confidence to stand-up when bullies step-in.
"I think it's important that you stand up, because if everybody just stands there and watches, the bully thinks that 'oh, well they're rooting for me,'" said Vincill.
We did some fact-digging and learned, according to the i-SAFE foundation, 42 percent of kids have been bullied online, and 35 percent of kids have been threatened online.
For more facts on bullying prevention, visit http://www.stopbullying.gov/.
- Police: Car plows into parade crowd in New Orleans; 12 hurt
- VA Gubernatorial Candidate campaigning in Southwest Virginia
- Mall at Johnson City full of race cars for season preview
- Final contract signed to transfer Sullivan North to Kingsport City Schools
- Gov. amends SWVa. lawmaker's bill to raise fine for driving slowly in left lane