CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Schools across the Carolinas are doing their part to combat bullying but one Charlotte teenager is taking matters into her own hands.
Chloie-Olivia hated school when she was younger. She says she was bullied from the time she started kindergarten all the way through elementary school.
"In kindergarten, I was called fat the first eight days," she said. "By the time I was in fourth grade, I was kicked, I was slapped."
When she got to fifth grade, Chloe-Olivia says she couldn't take it anymore.
"I actually contemplated suicide," she said. "I was a 10-year-old wanting to take her own life."
Instead, she made the choice to live. And six years later, Chloe-Olivia launched an anti-bullying campaign for fellow students. It's called Chat and Chew, and students meet at restaurants across the Charlotte area. Guidance counselors also come to the meetings and share ways to deal with bullies.
Bullying is becoming an epidemic that even the CDC is recognizing it. According to a new report, there were 80,000 cases reported in the Carolinas just in the past year. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools reported nearly 500 cases last school year.
Several districts, including CMS and York County, have rolled out anonymous reporting tools to help curb the issue. Students say it's all about being proactive.
"I decided to take on this because I want other people to feel as if they aren't alone," Chloe-Olivia said.