Taylor scene

Taylor Elementary Third Grade Teacher Sarah Thompson teaches her class, including Rylee Haughey, left, and Devin Johnson the important of words Wednesday.

BROOKSVILLE -- Students and staff at Taylor Elementary School are currently reading a book and completing activities to teach children the importance of acceptance.

Anna Cummins, library media specialist for the school, said staff and students are reading a book called Wonder by Raquel J. Palacio. The book follows 10-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with a facial deformity and all of the challenges he faces by being different from the other students in his school.

"The book follows different viewpoints and the characters interactions with one another," Cummins said. "Every class is reading it. Every person in the school has access to a copy of the book. We wanted to do this to help the culture of our school and to come together as one."

Several students in the school said they have learned a lot about the importance of being kind from reading the book and completing the activities.

Some of the activities included completing a video about bullying and looking at a picture of a person and say how they would respond if the person sat next to them on a bus.

Jackson Herald said he has learned that no one should be judged based on how they look, but instead on what is inside.

"Most of us already know this, but we've learned that you shouldn't judge someone by their looks," he said. "It's what's inside that really matters with a person. This project is preparing us for middle school because some of the middle schoolers pick on us elementary kids and we don't want that in the next generation of sixth, seventh and eighth graders."

Paisley Cook, 11, said she learned the importance of being a friend.

"You have to be a friend to people," she said.

On Wednesday, third-grade teacher Sarah Thompson had her class in the library to do an activity that would show the importance of watching what one says.

Thompson asked one student, Devin Johnson to squeeze toothpaste onto a plate. Once he was finished, she asked another student, Rylee Haughey to put the toothpaste back inside the tube.

Haughey struggled to return the toothpaste to the tube, even trying to use a toothpick and a spoon to do so. When she realized she could not put the toothpaste back inside, Thompson took the plate away.

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"You see how hard that was?" Thompson asked the students. "It's easy to say mean words, but it's not easy to take them back. Just like the toothpaste, I might say mean words and then say I'm sorry; I'm so sorry, but guess what? It hurts, doesn't it? Just like the toothpaste is hard to get back in, it's hard to forgive something that was said. Just like in the book we're reading, where August thought they were his friends. The words that came out were so easy to say, but what did August do? He ran out and cried. He can forgive his friends, but he'll always remember the hurt."

Haughey said she understood the meaning behind the toothpaste.

"You can't just put it back," she said.

Thompson told her students to remember to think before they say something.

Cummins said she will put the videos from each class together and post them on the school website and Facebook page.

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