ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - Teachers, students, parents and elected officials filled an auditorium at Howard High School in Ellicott City. They gathered to raise awareness and fight against bullying. It was all part of the Ray of Hope Anti-Bullying event.
A panel was on hand for a discussion. First Lady of Maryland Katie O'Malley was also on hand for the event.
Baltimore Ravens' Running Back Ray Rice says it's about saving lives. He wants students to remember that it does get better.
"If it was a problem maybe we can all fix it because there are people you can go to talk too. I was never afraid to do was ask for help. I want to encourage these kids who are bullied to ask for help," said Ray Rice.
In April, Glenelg High School student, 15-year-old Grace McComas committed suicide after she was bullied on social media web sites. Her mother, father and sisters sat in the audience still filled with grief.
Her father spoke to the audience saying it's time to bring about change so no one else has to suffer.
"Her compassion came at a high cost and I lost a daughter," said David McComas, Grace's father.
Those who knew Grace said she was a special person and always had a smile.
"She was the funniest person and she taught me how to be strong in times, but she was not able to be strong," said Bryan Tarka, Grace's friend.
"I think it is very important that all the students in Howard County get together and stop bullying. We are all victims of it and if we work together, we can stop it," said Brianna Madzeo, Sophomore.
Parents hope school officials take a harder stance against bullies.
"A lot of times they address it, but they don't give them a harsh enough punishment for it. I've watched bullies get talked too and they take it out on their victims," said Patty Tarka, a parent.
Organizers hope that with a Ray of Hope and a touch of Grace, no one else will have to silently suffer at the hands of bullies.
Howard County Councilman Calvin Ball and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman were on hand for the event.
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