Kyrene del Milenio Elementary School’s multi-purpose room was filled with clapping, cheering and excited students Wednesday morning as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters introduced a new anti-bullying program.
Anthony “Buckets” Blakes, a Phoenix native and 11-year member of the Globetrotters, showed off some tricks and taught the group of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders about what to do when experiencing bullies.
Milenio is the first school in the nation to have the program presented, and each of the students received an autographed certificate from the program.
The ABC’s of Bullying Prevention program came from a partnership with the National Campaign to Stop Violence. Every year, the nonprofit organization hosts its Do the Write Thing Challenge in which 60,000 middle-school students wrote essays last year about violence in their lives.
The most frequent experiences cited in the essays traced back to bullying.
“Bullying is in every school, and it’s not just physical, but also cyber-bullying,” Blakes said.
He warned the students, just under the middle school age, to be careful when sending text messages, videos or photos that could be hurtful or intend to make fun of someone.
Though final details of the program tour are not yet available, the Globetrotters will bring the program to more than 300 schools and youth centers starting next month, said Brett Meister, vice president of communications for the Globetrotters.
The program focuses on action, bravery and compassion, which make up the ABC’s.
Kids are encouraged to take action when they see someone being bullied or experience bullying in a non-confrontational way. Bravery includes walking away from confrontation or gossip. Showing compassion to others who have been bullied, making new friends, and helping others was also mentioned.
The Harlem Globetrotters are based in Phoenix, and have been established for more than 80 years. Blakes mentioned the team’s concern with the issue of bullying, after visiting about 200 schools a season for appearances.
The students seated on Milenio’s multi-purpose room floor for Blake’s assembly this week asked questions about bullying, including “why can’t bullies just be kind,” “why do they sometimes use violence,” and “what do bullies look like,” among others.
According to Blakes, bullying “involves a difference in power,” and told the students that bullies “want to take happiness away” from others.
Blakes also had some fun with a basketball exercise during his presentation, and ended with challenging the students to use the ABC’s in their daily lives.
“It’s brave to walk away, there’s no winner in a fight,” he added.
To request the ABC’s of Bullying Prevention program, fax on school letterhead to (602) 258-5925 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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