According to stopbullying.gov, nationwide, 20 percent of students ages 12-18 experience bullying.
So kids and parents got a lesson about bullying with tips on how to stop it or handle it if it’s happening.
“When you can instill this stuff in them, it just sets them up for success. Not just with dealing with other people, but just in life in general,” said Chris “Shoof” Scheufele.
Scheufele, also known as “Shoof,” is a former teacher who now spends his time teaching kids, parents and teachers everything he knows about bullying.
He spent Wednesday talking to kids at Burlington Elementary about how to identify it.
“Helping kids understand that people are going to be mean. That’s just part of life. Stuff is not always going to go your way. But it’s what you think about it that determines your emotional reactions and it’s all in how you handle it,” said Scheufele.
He also shares ways to handle it, like building emotional strength and resiliency.
“If somebody’s being mean to you and you respond with at least in a civil manner, or with respect or kindness, if you respond to it with that, it’s amazing how quickly it shuts it down,” said Scheufele.
Shoof uses personal stories and exercises to show them how it’s done.
We asked a few fifth graders what their experience is with bullying like these two students say they’ve seen it happen first hand.
“I’ve experienced my friends doing it or ‘friends,'” said Eli Buee, fifth-grader.
“I’ve happened to have my like brother doing that,” said Guy Hudson, fifth-grader.
And Maverick Trowbridge has been on the receiving end.
“This kid said, ‘Well, at least I’m not adopted,'” Trowbridge said.
Maverick says Shoof’s advice is going to help him in the future.
“He said just to be like excited about that because I’m with a good family now and be excited about that say, ‘Yeah! I’m adopted!'” said Trowbridge.
“I don’t know the ins and the outs of the situation, but I can at least give him some tips to equip that when it does happen again, he knows how to shut it down,” said Scheufele.
Other kids say they also learned useful tools to combat bullying.
“He’s telling me if somebody was to like gossip about you, you just say, ‘They’re talking about me! It’s popular! I’m popular,'” said Peyton Haskett, fifth-grader.
“Not to get upset if you are being bullied and to treat them like a friend even though they’re treating you not well,” said Katelyn Kokot, fifth-grader.
“Or you can turn it into a joke like about your friends later and give you something to laugh about at least,” said Buee.
“If you’re being bullied, take it as a compliment,” said Hudson.
“If you see somebody being bullied, you stand up for them, but don’t hit them. Just tell them that, ‘That’s not nice,'” said Haskett.
Shoof also took to Zoom to present to parents so the whole family can be involved.
Shoof says it’s important to get kids, teachers and parents on the same page on how to properly handle bullying.
Shoof was able to speak at Burlington Elementary, thanks to insurance agency Horace Mann.