DODEA athletes show youngsters that champions don't bully
Andersen Air Force Base, Guam -- Members from the Guam High School Panthers football team visited Andersen Elementary School, Oct. 17, 2013, to spread the word about anti-bullying in support of National Bullying Prevention Month
Players visited numerous classes throughout the school to speak to students about the importance of not bullying and how to report bullying. The students were able to interact with the athletes and ask questions.
"I brought my team out because I know when the younger kids see them standing up for what's right, they will want to do the same thing," said Jacob Dowdell, Andersen Elementary teacher and GHS football coach. "The younger kids look up to them."
According to www.stopbullying.gov, bullying is unwanted behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
During the speeches, the children were asked question such as, 'what does it mean to be a bully?' and 'Who do you report to when you see a fellow classmate getting bullied?'
The athletes assured the students that they can always come to them for help, but more importantly, they should report to a trusted adult such as their teacher.
"I want to be a positive role model for kids younger than me," said Juwan Jacobs, GHS, Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam football league's most valuable offensive player. "I enjoy being looked at as a mentor; I want my generation to grow up with the right values and intentions."
Among the athletes was the first female football player in Guam High School history, Victoria Davis. She gave plenty of examples of how she was accepted into the team rather than being bullied.
"When I first joined the team, I thought I was going to be bullied, but my teammates welcomed me with open arms," Davis said. "I want the young girls to see they can do anything and not have to worry about being bullied."
According to www.bullyingfacts.info, more than 56 percent of students witness bullying during school, 71 percent of students report that bullying is an on-going problem, and one of every seven students from kindergarten to 12th grade has been a bully or has been bullied.
"We tell the students to come to us as trusted adults when they feel they are being bullied or when they see a friend being bullied," Dowdell said. "Our district is striving to make every school a bully-free zone. I thank our district and school level administrators for their support of something I want to make an annual event. "
Signs that a child is being bullied include becoming withdrawn, showing fear when it's time to go to school, increasing signs of depression, decline of school performance, speaking of another child with fear and signs of physical altercations such as bruises, scrapes and other marks.
"Be aware of changes in your child and talk to them about bullying," Dowdell said. "The more we teach our children the less bullying there will be in our schools."
For more information on how to prevent bullying or to spread the word visit www.stopbullying.gov.