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Stopping bullying through purple gloves

Posted at 8:54 AM, Dec 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 10:06:03-05

An elementary school in Haslett is using gloves to tackle bullying.

It all started when Runo King spotted the purple gloves while shopping with his mom.

She said he was excited to wear them to school the next day but the kids at Wilkshire Early Childhood Center didn't seem to like them as much as he did.

"I mean, I felt horrible that he was feeling horrible to go to school with something that he cared about so much. He thought they were so awesome to have," his mother, Kristin DeNike said.

DeNike posted on Facebook when bullies started teasing her son about his gloves. Debbie Ellis saw the post, and bought dozens of purple gloves and donated them to the classroom.

That's when the school took it as an opportunity to educate the students about bullying.

"I wanted as many children in the school to wear purple gloves the next day to show this little guy that its OK. And to support him and make him feel better," Ellis said.

Wilkshire's principal said she was happy the gloves turned into a teachable moment.

"Everybody's different. And it's OK to be different. When those opportunities come, you want to try to highlight those and then give students tools to work with those. And I think that this purple glove thing was one of those tools," Gail Hicks said.

The next day was called #purplemitten day, and community members wore purple in honor of Runo. DeNike told FOX 47 that Runo was excited to go to school and see his favorite color everywhere.

"I totally didn't expect everyone to wear purple for Runo. Even some of the teachers wore purple. It was just amazing what they did for him," she said.

"Words hurt, and bruises heal but sometimes words don't heal and they can have lasting effects on children. So it's important that we start to teach them while they are young to be accepting," Ellis added.

Since that day, Haslett now has the "Purple Mitten Campaign," which is an anti-bullying campaign in the town.

Runo's mom told FOX 47 that Runo is happy and wears his gloves every day.