When Quincy Elliot first came to John Long Middle School, he encountered a bully who made his life miserable.
“He would constantly hit me in the back of the head with a pencil or backpack, flick me. One day he punched me in the face three times. That was the day I cried,” he said.
It got so bad, this creative, otherwise happy boy actually thought about suicide. He was just 11 years old.
“He takes everything to heart, and he’s got such a big heart that it really did effect him in ways that I never imagined,” said his mother Nicole.
Just when the seventh grader needed it most, Quincy discovered Long Horns United. It’s a student group, made up of all kinds of kids from football players to outsiders, trying to stop bullying before it ever begins.
One popular project was the mix-up event, which paired students from different cliques to eat lunch together.
“To help kids [who] feel isolated I think is one of the most important things the group can do. And that’s why the whole thing is Long Horns United. You really are not alone on this campus,” said school counselor Tim Hall.
Now Quincy is defending others form bullying, even if it makes him a target.
“He has the ability to feel what other bullied kids feel,” said his mother.
“Now I feel like I can handle it a bit more. Like I can take it a bit more before it goes too far,” Quincy said.
Schools all over Pasco County have different versions of Long Horns United.
The kids at John Long Middle are now working on a video to spread their message so even more children find the support they need.
You can learn about more bullying resources here.