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      Oprah calls Loris mayor about school bullying efforts

      Loris Mayor David E. Stoudenmire, Jr . says he got a personal call from Oprah Winfrey encouraging the community for its efforts to curb bullying.

      Mayor Stoudenmire made the announcement Friday morning as students, parents and community members gathered in the Loris Elementary School gym to get tough on bullying. The school launched a bully-free program Friday morning, one of many throughout Horry County schools in conjunction with Olweus Bully Prevention Program.

      The effort is meant to let people know that bullying will not be tolerated, not only in schools, but at home and throughout the community.

      Horry County schools spokesperson Teal Britton has said that the Olweus program goes beyond the school environment to involve the entire community.

      Parent teacher organizations, local police, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, faith-based leaders and others are participating in training to support a bully-free community.

      Several special guests helped to kick off the the event at Loris Elementary Friday morning, including athletic coaches from Coastal Carolina University and local entertainers from the Grand Strand, who spoke of personal experiences of being bullied.

      Mayor Stoudenmire also read a letter to students from former First Lady Barbara Bush that described how proud she was of the students embarking on the program.