Education
1:00 am
Mon October 28, 2013

NC Basketball Star & Harlem Globetrotter Visits Triad Schools to Help Stop Bullying

October is National Bully Prevention month. Schools across the state are hosting special programs to bring awareness about the issue. Last week, students and staff at Sedgefield Elementary in Greensboro received a special visit from Harlem Globetrotter Anthony “Ant” Atkinson.

According to bullyingstatistics.org, there are about 160,000 children that miss school every day out of fear of being bullied.

That's Harlem Globetrotter Anthony “Ant” Atkinson of Wilson, N.C., shared his personal bullying experience with students at Sedgefield Elementary in Greensboro on Thursday.  “I became scared to go to school, just intimidated. I used to fake being sick so I didn't have to go to school because I didn't want to see him,” said Atkinson. He also visited some schools in Forsyth County last week.

The Harlem Globetrotters are traveling to schools all over the country, presenting their bullying prevention program as part of their partnership with the National Campaign to Stop Violence.

Atkinson said the goal is to teach kids the ABC's of bullying prevention.

“The A stands for action, the B stands for bravery and the C stands for compassion. You take action by telling somebody what is going on and you show bravery by having the courage to tell people what is going on. As for compassion, you have to have a heart and I tell them to treat people how you want to be treated,” said Atkinson.

Atkinson used his ball handling skills and played games with the students to get their attention.

“I thought it was really important because it told us how to stand up to bullying and how to deal with it,” said Tyler Smith, a third grader at Sedgefield Elementary.

“I liked the message he gave about bravery and now when I see something like that happening I need to stand up and do something about it,” said Marlo Lawary, a fifth grader at the  school.

Atkinson also asked teachers to share their stories about bullying. Kenneth Hopson, the school counselor at Sedgefield Elementary, said it’s important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying—or something else—is a concern.

“Bullying is a huge problem. In North Carolina, we have even had some students as young as ten years old commit suicide because of bullying. So we see a change in their academics, their attitudes, and other behaviors. They may even start to become aggressive towards other kids because of what has happened to them,” said Hopson.

All of the Sedgefield Elementary students who participated in the anti-bullying program received an autographed certificate from Atkinson and the Harlem Globetrotters.

Harlem Globetrotter "Ant" Atkinson talks with students about the ABC's of bullying prevention.