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Broken Arrow Non-Profit Offers Tips To Combat Bullying

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A New Leaf nursery employs workers with developmental disabilities. A New Leaf nursery employs workers with developmental disabilities.
Follow the Golden Rule, one worker advises. Follow the Golden Rule, one worker advises.
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

A Facebook Live video that's drawing nationwide attention is also getting some reaction in Green Country. Last week, Chicago police arrested four suspects who videotaped themselves beating and mocking a man with special needs.  

At A New Leaf, a Broken Arrow non-profit agency, directors say people with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied. 
But they also say, there are some simple things that can be done to combat bullying.

January is a "transition time" at A New Leaf.  It's time to get things ready for spring. 

"We're doing a lot of cleaning. You gotta keep the greenhouses clean," said Kayla Jones, A New Leaf.

Kayla Jones says the goal is to help people with developmental disabilities transition into the community with job skills, and become more independent.  

"Everybody likes to get their paycheck," said Tim O'Neal, 29.

But Jones says it's time for another transition - this time, for society. 

"Unfortunately, bullying is on the upward trend," Jones said.

Chicago police say in a video streamed live on Facebook, four suspects cut an 18-year-old victim's clothes, peppered him with cigarette ashes, and cut his hair with a knife until his scalp bled.  Several people are laughing during the attack - and investigators say he was targeted because he has special needs.

"It's just so heartbreaking. for me, it's actually - I wasn't able to watch the whole thing, personally," said A New Leaf's Kayla Jones.

She says the best way to transition away from bullying - is to look at a person for who they are, instead of identifying them by their disability.

"What people can start doing is start accepting, and making sure they see the person first," she said. 

Something 29-year-old Tim O'Neal has learned about while working at A New Leaf, is respect. 

"Cause you would want them to treat you the same way as you would them," he said.

An approach anyone can use everyday -  whether they're disabled or not. 

Jones says there are 24,000 in the Tulsa area who have developmental disabilities. She says the best way to start a positive relationship with anyone - is to simply say 'hi.'

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