Kids turn to baseball for anti-bullying education

Credit: NBC Charlotte

Kids turn to baseball for anti-bullying education

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on April 16, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 1:58 AM

FORT MILL, S.C. -- Hundreds of school children shared lessons about being bully-free by going to a play field, which is where experts say most kids are targets of, or witness bullying.

Tuesday’s lesson was at Knights Stadium and involved watching the Charlotte Knights baseball team play the Durham Bulls.

The lesson in watching the game is baseball equals teamwork and teamwork equals no bullying.

Students sat near signs touting bully-free zones.  They also sang baseball-themed songs which doubled as lessons against bullying and solved crossword puzzles with the same themes.

Sixth graders from Phoenix Montessori in Huntersville stood side-by-side on purpose.  Both have been targets of bullying and have committed to having each other’s back.

"I helped her through it and she's helped me through it because I always get bullied sometimes because of my teeth,” Anovick said.

“Just have to stand up and take a stand,” said friend and classmate Eloise Blake.

Zach Reulbach stood next to classmate Campbell Lindquist.  Both attend Woodlawn School in Davidson.

"If she's getting picked on, I'm supposed to stand up for her and the other way around,” Reulbach said.

“Bullies don’t have to be big and mean and tough.  My bully was the prettiest girl in class and she was an angel around parents and she was really rude behind people’s backs,” Lindquist said.

"The number one place children are bullied is on the playing field,” said Diane Benson, Executive Director of The Foundation for Respect Ability.

Her job is to convert bystanders into “upstanders,” or people who see bullying, stop it and report it.

Anovich says she helped a fourth grader when other students wanted to break his nose.

"We stood up and said hey, that's not right, you shouldn't do that to him,” Anovich said.

"This is a perfect venue to remind people not to bully during sports and sports games while they're playing,” said Benson.

Reulbach says lessons learned watching baseball carry over into school, including in class and at play.

"Because they're working as a team, putting aside what they have that's different to win and that's what we should do to help other people who are getting bullied,” he said.

This is the first time the Charlotte Knights teamed up with The Foundation for Respectability to fight bullying.

The team and foundation will do it again April 24 at Knights Stadium with children from 30 more schools.

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