Bullying, both in its regular and cyber forms, is a big and growing problem, but combating the abuse may start with something small: an embroidered patch with the letters A.A.B (Athletes Against Bullying).
The brainchild of veteran anti-bullying educator and filmmaker, Thomas Brown, and Superintendent of Zanesville (Ohio) City Schools, Terry Martin, AAB asks athletes on participating teams and in school sports programs to sign a pledge not to engage in bullying behavior at home or in school or participate in any form of hazing, and to stand up for the victims of the merciless teasing and tormenting bullies employ.
After signing the pledge, student athletes receive the official A.A.B. patch to sew on their uniforms, which has been endorsed by the Ohio High School Athletic Association and can be customized to individual school colors.
While wearing team jerseys with the A.A.B. patch, athletes are also expected to educate younger students about the unfairness of bullying others and the harm that it causes.
Role models against bullying
"Ask kids who they look up to and they will almost always say athletes, and that applies to popular athletes on a local, city, state or national level, " Brown explains. "I always thought that if the athletic community supported the importance of anti-bullying awareness and did its part to take a stand against childhood bullying, its vast resources, popularity and influence could actually do something about this ages-old bullying problem," which, Brown says, is directly linked youth suicide and school shootings in the United States and in other parts of the world but still regarded by many as just a "natural part of growing up."
In announcing the AAB program, Brown is challenging to the athletic community at all levels to help to spread its anti-bullying message: "Together we can actually do something to help those thousands and thousands of children who are terrified to go to school, and possibly avoid further bullying-related youth suicides and shooting tragedies."
For more information about A.A.B send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Athletes Against Bullying
Created September 1, 2010