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Bellmore-Merrick Band Releases Anti-Bullying Anthem

Toxin recently released "I AM" off of their album, "Skindependence."

The five members of the rock band Toxin all have something in common--they were bullied in high school for being "different."

As a way to help other young adults in the same situation, the Bellmore-Merrick band released their single "I AM" off of their album, "Skindependence."

The song tells teenagers that even though they may be seen as "outcasts," they should still be proud of who they are.

Jason Kloos, Toxin's lead singer and a senior at Calhoun High School, said that the group wanted to show their fans that they can relate to them.

"It's about the things we have gone through," the 18-year-old said. "We have all been bullied."

Toxin's members include: Ross Medico, 21, of Bellmore, Matt Brandon, 19, of Bellmore, Joe Gigante, 20, of Merrick and Brian Maldonado, 18, of Massapequa Park.

The five friends formed their band in 2007. They performed at the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany in 2010 and recently toured with Bret Michaels.

Medico said that he and his fellow band members found each other during their most difficult times.

"You're never alone when you are being bullied," he said." Other people are going through the same thing. We got together and now we are spreading the message."

Kloos agreed.

"Bullying is an issue on Long Island," he said.  "Kids don't just face it in school, but they go home and are bullied online. We want to express the importance of being yourself and we want to stay true to ourselves."

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