Bullies beware

Ronald McDonald: “If you see something, say something”

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Photo gallery – more than 700 pics!

HAMLET — There is, said Ronald McDonald, no prototypical bully. He — or she — can be big or little, large or small, young or old or short or tall.

They can have long blonde hair or shirt black hair. They can be mean. But they are never fair.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Ronald McDonald has students display what they believe a bully looks like.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Ronald McDonald has students display what they believe a bully looks like.

McDonald traveled on Thursday from McDonald Land all the way to Monroe Avenue Elementary School in Hamlet to deliver an anti-bullying message that also served as a pro-friend affair. In an early morning session, he and Miss K presented for 45 minutes to students in prekindergarten through second grade ways to manage bullies and, in essence, put them in a corner for timeout.

Together on a “friendship adventure,” Ronald McDonald, Miss K and the students and staff learned that if people would simply focus more on what they have in common, instead of their differences, life sure would be a whole lot easier. It was a message delivered with uptempo music, a bit of  shouting and lots and lots of laughter.

There are a lot of words for friends, Ronald said — friend, buddy, bud, homey — and lots of ways to say it, such as in Spanish (amigo), Italian (amico), French (ami) or Japanese (tomodachi). Each word means the same though: It’s someone who’s got your back and helps you through life with support and cooperation.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Bullies, said Ronald, come in all shapes and sizes.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Bullies, said Ronald, come in all shapes and sizes.

“There are some people who do not want you to be excellent,” Ronald said. “There are some people who don’t want you to be the best you can be. A bully will do their best to stop you from doing your best.”

And even through “bullies are everywhere,” Ronald said, “they’re really hard to see.”

That’s because a bully doesn’t fit a certain stereotype. Ronald asked for 22 volunteers to come stand in the middle of the school gymnasium and demonstrate what a bully looked like. Immediately, students began stomping in place, simulating a punch or making mean faces. Ronald, though, noted that each student’s physical characteristics could be that of a bully — one girl had pink shoes, one girl had her hair in a bun and another wore glasses. One boy rarely took his hands from his coat pockets. Another wore hiking boots.

Ronald and Miss K focused their message, then, on what to do. He asked students on what options were on the table. Walk away, one said. Say “leave me alone,” said another. Tell a teacher or a parent — or, as Ronald said, any grown-up, whether it’s the lunch lady, the school bus driver or someone else.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Ronald McDonald was available for high-fives and hugs after the performance.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Ronald McDonald was available for high-fives and hugs after the performance.

“If you see something, say something,” Ronald said.

Some students suggested punching the bully. Ronald took a firm stance with such suggestions.

“If you think that’s a good choice, that means people will walk away from you. People will tell on you.”

Ronald suggested people should focus more on similarities. How many students enjoyed listening to music? Most everyone put up their hands. How many liked to read just for fun? A few less hands, but still dozens. How many liked to do arts or draw pictures or play outside? Just about everyone.

The program was coordinated by Stacey Fain, school counselor in partnership with Jerome Davis, owner of the Rockingham McDonald’s. Fain said Davis covered the cost of the program, a first since Fain arrived to Monroe Avenue Elementary School.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The interactive program emphasized maximum audience participation.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The interactive program emphasized maximum audience participation.

 

 

 

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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