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Blue Earth turns orange to spotlight bullying

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As part of a publicity stunt aimed at drawing national attention, Blue Earth, Minn., is renaming itself Orange Earth for the day to focus attention on the fight against bullying, the Fairibault County Register reports.

October is Anti-Bullying Month and Oct. 9 as Unity Day. Blue Earth leaders are urging residents on Wednesday to wear orange, the designated color of anti-bullying efforts.

As part of the town events, the 25-foot toga on Blue Earth's landmark Jolly Green Giant statute is being decked out in orange, the Associated Press reports. There are photos of the transformation on the town's chamber of commerce Facebook page.

Blue Earth leaders also are urging children and adults to share stories about being bullied and what they did about it.

Minnesota lawmakers did not approve a new anti-bullying law this year, but supporters vow to bring it back for a vote next session. The legislation grew out of a state task force formed to examine the problem.

The state's current law is only 37 words, one of the nation's shortest – and weakest, critics say. It directs districts to have some sort of anti-bullying policy.

A 2010 survey of Minnesota students indicated that 12.6 percent of students were classified as bullying victims (were made fun of, teased in a hurtful way, or excluded from friends or activities by others with a frequency of weekly or more), and 9.3 percent were classified as bullies.

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