Officers deliver anti-bullying message
Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, February 11, 2014
How should you respond to bullying? How will “nerds” fare as adults compared to their tormentors? Is horseplay with classmates a good idea? Such questions were pondered when two Suffolk police officers visited a boys’ group at Creekside Elementary School on Tuesday.
Creekside’s Breakfast Club meets weekly to discuss life-improving topics. Teachers select boys to join. On Tuesday, 38 boys were on their best behavior for Sgt. Andre Sparks and Officer Robert Burton.
“No matter what happens in your life, no matter what family structure you come from … each and every one of you are very important, and you are special, and you are somebody and you have a bright future ahead of you,” said Sparks, kicking off a discussion that would focus on bullying.
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“Each and every one of you can be whatever you desire to be in life. It’s something in life we have called choices and decisions … you have to be on the right path and make those right choices and decisions.”
And for every action there’s a reaction, Sparks continued. The consequences can be good or they can be bad.
“Before you do something,” he said, the boys should asked themselves, “What might happen if I do it?”
He said horseplay is a good example: “If you are horseplaying and make a mistake and hit him, he might get upset, right? Then he might hit me, then we might be fighting. Don’t be out there horseplaying, to make sure we don’t get to that point where we are fighting.”
The officers showed several short cartoons with an anti-bullying message. Burton warned that bullying can escalate, “and you don’t know how far it can go.”
“(It) can go as far as an individual returning to school with a weapon to do harm,” he said.
Burton asked the boys what they should do “when someone’s picking on you.” The answers: “Tell a bigger person;” Tell a teacher;” “Tell an adult;” “Tell Mom and Dad.”
He asked them why getting an education is important.
“When you get an education, then when you grow up you can get a nice house and car, and you get a lot of money and you can buy yourself nice stuff,” one boy replied.
Education is important, because it’s permanent, Sparks said. “If you get a good education, you will have that for the rest of your life.”
“You might have the nicest Air Jordans or the nicest LeBrons, but next year you might not be able to wear them, because your feet have grown,” he added. “So clothes don’t last, but education does.”
Latrail Marshall said he took this away from the breakfast: “When you bully, it can lead to big trouble, and it can lead to you getting hurt.”
Club sponsor Jesse Ellison said the boys had been talking a lot about bullying. “It’s something we have got to, basically, really tackle,” he said.
“Now is the time. In a new semester, with a fresh start, we can tackle this right away.”