CHICAGO (CBS) — An elementary school in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood is really making a change in the fight against bullying.

WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports LaSalle II Magnet Elementary School funded an anti-bullying effort with pennies.

The school brought in $1,200 in this year’s “Penny War,” which Student Council coordinator Tanya Ridgeway said has students raising money with pennies, and cancelling out competing classrooms’ gains with silver coins.

“It is a war, and the children really get into it,” she said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

Each home room collects pennies for a cause, but those gains can be wiped out.

“If they have a hundred pennies in their jar, and you put in a dollar’s worth of silver, that cancels out all their pennies,” Ridgeway said.

All the coins the students collected paid for a motivational speaker to talk to the school about how to stop and prevent bullying.

“They wanted to educate the student body, and to try to alleviate as many problems in the elementary level as possible,” Ridgeway said. “It’s like, how can we help? What can we do to help?”

According to Ridgeway, bullying is a national epidemic, and even LaSalle has had some incidents.

“Small, little, you know – sometimes it’s girls being mean to each other,” she said.

As a World Language school, LaSalle works to foster good global citizens, which includes having concern for your neighbors, according to Ridgeway.

“We have all these languages that the children learn. We try to be a global society, and teach them you have to be concerned with your neighbor,” she said.

Last year, the school donated $1,000 from their Penny War to a school in Burundi, Africa.

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