FRANKFORT, Ky. - Although we are just now really acknowledging bullying as an issue, it has been around as long as any of us can remember.
Each person reading this can remember an instance of bullying as a child, adolescent, and most likely as an adult. And we have all watched the growing pains of colleagues transitioning from using the language of "boys will be boys" and "they didn't mean any harm" to the understanding that bullying is not acceptable in any form.
In an effort to foster respect and acceptance in our high schools, the National Guard and Career Training Concepts (CTC) have unveiled an anti-bullying presentation that's drawing plaudits from educators and students alike.
Developed in conjunction with the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Making Caring Common Project, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Empowerment Initiative, the Helping Everyone Achieve Respect (H.E.A.R.) presentation is designed to address the fundamental issues that underlie acts of bullying in American high schools.
"Why H.E.A.R.? All of us want to be heard," said Jimmy Shafe, president of CTC. "Victims need to be heard. Bullies want to be heard. Listening to someone is one of the highest forms of showing respect. The goal of this program is to help students respect each other. There's no elaborate pledge at the end, but they are asked to sign a banner making a simple commitment. It says, ‘I Respect Others.'"
CTC has chosen the National Guard as the exclusive sponsor for this exciting new presentation now available to your students. The National Guard's values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage provide the framework used in the H.E.A.R. presentation. Using these Guard Values, students identify actions they can take to make their school and themselves safe.
"As the name implies, this is about respect," said Sgt. 1st Class Ralph Oliver, a National Guard recruiter with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Recruiting and Retention. "It's about awareness and informing kids to stand up and be the better person."
The Guard Values are ideals to be strived toward both professionally and personally. They were chosen because Guardsmen and Women are Citizen Soldiers who live in almost every community across the country. They serve as leaders and mentors in their civilian and soldier duties. Asking the students to identify which Guard Values they aspire to in their lives not only gives them a goal, but lets them know that they are part of a larger whole striving to achieve that same goal.
"The Guard is a community family," said Oliver. "We are able to take our values and institute them in the classroom. Kids know the issue is part of our life, we want to bring more awareness to it and help empower them."
By using the Guard Values and focusing on respect, students participating in the H.E.A.R. presentation will be taught to identify bullying, made aware of the proper channels to report bullying, and they will be empowered to not become a bully, or to end their bullying behaviors. A broad number of bullying issues are covered, including cyber-bullying, sexual harassment, physical violence, and more. The presentation leader will walk students through two case studies that most students can easily identify with. The group will work through steps that can be taken to stop the bullying, help the victim, and report the issue, while keeping safe.
Kentucky youth have been found to be resilient, and they are motivated to enact change in their community. The H.E.A.R. presentation gives them tools to improve the culture in their schools. H.E.A.R. also gives the students ideals and values to strive toward and examples to live up to through the Citizen-Soldiers of the Kentucky National Guard who stand for each and every value listed above.
"I think this will be a great program for the National Guard and the communities," said Oliver.
If you would like to learn more about H.E.A.R., please feel free to contact Mackenzie Hanes, Education Liaison, 270-804-2085, firstname.lastname@example.org.