Please! No Bullying!
I remember my first experience with bullying. It was in the 8th grade. There was a big kid in gym who would punch the smaller kids when the teacher wasn’t looking. I remember not liking it and wishing I could do something to make it stop, but back then there wasn’t a road map for kids who wanted bullying to end. Well, teammates, I’m happy to tell you, that’s not the case anymore, and several baseball teams are taking active roles in putting an end to bullying. This post will highlight the efforts of the Detroit Tigers.
Major League Baseball has done a very good job with its website, which has links to all thirty clubs. At first glance, the team websites look very similar, and they are, but there are differences. Two areas where the teams differentiate themselves are in their efforts to engage their fans and to be active participants in their communities. All the clubs are active, but their efforts vary, so in many ways, for me, the most intriguing parts of a club’s website are it’s community and fans sections. You can see below that I’ve circles these two tabs in red. If you click on the Tigers Community tab, you’ll see a number of choices, and among them is “Strike Out Bullying.” I clicked on it the other day, and a whole new world opened up.
Bullying occurs in many forms and in a variety of locations including the schoolyard, the internet, the ball park and the neighborhood. Think bullying occurs to just the little guy? Think again. Much to my amazement, I read how Prince Fielder, who was always a big kid, endured kicks and punches from smaller kids who wanted to knock him down to their size. I had always believed it was the big guy bullying the little guy; so much for that belief!
The Tigers teamed up with the Detroit Free Press Newspaper In Education program and Michigan KIDS in their effort to develop the ongoing Strike Out Bullying program. Materials with a baseball theme addressing bullying in schools were made available to teachers, administrators and students throughout the state of Michigan. Information on the Tigers web site revealed that since it was introduced in 2011, the Strike Out Bullying program has reached 250,000 students.
There is even a Tigers pledge to stop bullying in schools. Of course, it pertains to any location kids congregate, including the ball park. Here are the points of the pledge:
• Peacefully stand up for kids who are being bullied.
• Never fight back but calmly walk away from bullies.
• Never bully others if I am bullied.
• Stop rumors and bullying on the Internet.
• Let classmates know bullying is not cool.
• Tell an adult when I see bullying happen.
• Tell a trusted adult if I am bullied.
I read these points with great interest, and they’re meaningful actions for a kid to take. But when I saw those last two points I shuddered. Wait a minute! I’m an adult! What would I do if a child came to me with the news that they’ve been bullied?
While I know what I would do in a general sense, I lack specifics, and I want to learn them. I’ve already learned there’s a lot that goes into a commitment to stop bullying, and I’ll be reporting to you from time to time as my understanding grows. I’ll leave you today with a link and a promise; first, the link to the Tigers Strike Out Bullying program, and second, the promise to return to this topic.