LONDON, ONT. -- Mairin Patterson says it started in Grade 4, when she began being bullied for being biracial.

“It was a nightmare, “ says the Grade 10 student at Laurier Secondary School in London. “It made me want to die, like I didn't want to go to school, I just wanted to cry all the time.”

This year she is helping lead the way at her school with the iPledge Challenge, encouraging others to speak out.

“You need to act, you know you need to stand up for your fellow classmates,” says Patterson.

The vice principal at Laurier, Liz Akano, says staff need to do their part as well.

“We ask our classroom teachers to listen to their students, when someone tells you that they're hurt, when they are called names, when they are discriminated against, that needs to be addressed.”

The director of education at the Thames Valley District School Board, Mark Fisher, says inroads are being made when it comes to discrimination.

“We're making great progress, this is a societal issue but this is just one example of an initiative that can help move the needle forward just that little bit,” he says.

The iPledge campaign is focusing on three areas in 2020, encouraging everyone to 'Listen, Learn and Act,' all focused on tackling racism.

“My wish would be students respected each other more and that they were more active in standing up for each other and doing the right thing,” says Patterson.