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Helping Hands

Helping_HandsThere is an outstanding article in the PTO magazine, January 2017.   Article author Debbie Koenig says, “Working together on a community project is a surefire way to create a sense of togetherness within your school.”

I speak at schools throughout the country promoting understanding, diversity and friendship, I believe when students of all ages are involved in a community project, they are learning communication skills, team work, and they come to understand , respect and support everyone involved.

Debbie also says “it is best to look for a project that will allow students to learn a new skill or learn more about their community.”

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to an Optimist International Youth Conference.
Each individual club shared their projects they were involved in that were geared to improve their community. It didn’t matter where they lived, or their social and economic status, but what did matter was that each club was proud what they accomplished as a team and what they learned.

What I noticed that the members of all the clubs had a strong bond and close friendships. I observed students interacting and supporting each other. It didn’t matter if they were students with special needs or part of the National Honor’s Society, what did matter was how happy they were to have worked together to help with a beautification project, support of an outside charity events or help a local family in financial need.

If you are looking to improve your student interaction and promote understanding, diversity and friendship then I suggest a yearly helping hands school wide community project.

Here is an article about our school programs

Here I an article that was written about our school programs.pulaski-county-journal-090413-large

Schools Need to Continue the Bully Free School Message

Over the last couple years I have noticed a drop in Bully Prevention School Assembly requests.
Most schools are calling saying they have had enough bullying programs in their school and that it is time to try something different.

I was at a school today and as I was setting up my equipment a teacher said she was so happy to see that they finally brought back a bully prevention school assembly. She said it has been over three years and she has noticed that the bullying is starting to rise. She said she hopes I can remind the kids how wrong it is to bully other students.

Parents and teachers and assembly planners please don’t forget to book a bully prevention program this school year and every school year. It may longer be the so called fad but I agree with the teacher I met today that students need to be reminded again and again that disrespect, teasing and hurting the feelings of another student is unacceptable behavior.

Richard Paul

Copyright 2016




Katy is Doing Bullying in Schools Research….

I have never been bullied but i am a 9th grade doing a research project about where bulling happens the most. When i do see bulling happen in my school the bully usually wants is the kid to react in some way so if you don’t react they don’t normally target you they also don’t target the kids who shut the bully down in another meaning is if the kid sticks up for themselves in a non caring way – if that makes sense, don’t show the bully that you care that they are bothering you and they will normally look for someone else to bother.

It’s About Time! a comment from a reader….

It is about time!. Kids need to know that it is okay to press charges. PARENTS need to be supportive of them pressing charges. Law enforcement and district attorney’s need to be supportive of investigating and prosecuting the charges. School administrators need to let the students know that pressing charges is an option and if asked, call the police for the student.

Press the charges and let it all be sorted out in court. Some students will think twice about bullying others.



Message from one of our readers…

Really great message. I wish now the schools will decide to act on behalf of those being bullied or harassed to address the issue, problems and perpetrators, and I wish we’ll pay more attention to those at risk for depression and possible suicide.

Too often parents, friends, schools miss the real signs (my sister and brother-in-law did) to find out the truth too late with a failed attempt or worse a successful one. These take years to happen and often giving obvious signs that counseling won’t change. We need to find avenues for those at risk to speak in private without fear of the often bad reactions by parents. We have to change the environment of those at risk than just them, otherwise it doesn’t get better until they leave one way or the other.

Any wonder why there are so many run away? It sure solves that situation, but not them, only their environment. We need safe environments for those at risk, home, school, public, etc. Otherwise, it’s received as just another empty promise .Anyway, thanks for the link.


Super Hero Theme

free-superhero-clipart-supergirlsMany schools, libraries and churches have included or continue to have some kind of super hero theme as part of their curriculum or as part of their district wide positive behavior theme.

It is a great way to tie in with what kids like action packed movies, awesome comic books or fictional stories like Harry Potter or Grimm’s tales of good over powering evil.

Philip Zimbardo, the world-renowned psychologist says:  Evil can be fostered by dehumanization, diffusion of responsibility, obedience to authority, unjust systems, group pressure, moral disengagement, and anonymity, to name a few.

But when we ask why people become heroic, research doesn’t yet have an answer. It could be that heroes have more compassion or empathy; maybe there’s a hero gene; maybe it’s because of their levels of oxytocin—research by neuroeconomist Paul Zak has shown that this “love hormone” in the brain increases the likelihood you’ll demonstrate altruism. We don’t know for sure.

But what we do know is positive actions like tutoring a younger student, spending time with the new kid in the school or the so called unpopular student or just listening to a lonely person is a great way to be a hero. Standing up and not agreeing with other students who may be talking unkindly about another student or teacher is a sign of a super hero.

As part of a hero program at schools there should be a mix of information about kindness, generosity, unselfishness, sacrifice and the meaning of unconditional giving.

Remind them that there are many kinds of heroes, people who come out of nowhere to help someone in need or someone who wants to give their times and talent for the good of all people or someone who shouts out: “YOU SHOULDN”T DO THAT!” when someone is being teased.

Deepak Chopra says, “When you serve others, you gain more in return. If you give good things, then good things will flow your way.”

How can we get our students and children to think like a super hero?


Explain to them:

Super Hero’s don’t make fun of other people

Super Hero’s don’t gossip, spread rumors or tell cruel stories about others

Super Hero’s unconditionally help others and speak up when someone is being bullied


Activity: On the story board have your students or child draw up a comic strip of the super hero they want to be. It can be a story or a series of pictures showing how they would unconditionally help, support or speak up against bullying behaviors.


If you would like to share your students or child’s pictures we would be happy to put them up on our blog for other students, parents and teachers to share with their classrooms.

Story Board


Duck Sense School Assembly Programs






Diversity Awareness Month

April is Diversity Awareness Month, a celebration of our different races and cultures that make up the United States of America.

Many schools, colleges and organizations are planning  events to promote understanding and respect of all races and cultures. As a bully prevention specialist, I see the value of diversity awareness. The more we understand, the more we are tolerant of each other.

February is Black History Month and April is Diversity Awareness Month. Both inspire us to want to learn about one another.  Desmond Tutu once said: “A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.”  The more we learn about each others cultures and beliefs the less likely we will believer our underlying assumptons, prejudice and mis-information about our neighbers.

I was speaking at a high school not too ong ago, when I arrived I was trying to locate the school office to sign in. I approached three girls in the hallway to ask for directions. They took one look at my right arm and screamed.  (I have a birth defect, a short right hand with only two fingers.) After I finished my program on diversity, understanding and tolerance, all three girls came up to me with tears in their eyes apologizing for what they did.  This is a perfect example of why it is important to offer up diversity awareness; once these girls learned who I was, they were able to understand and respect me as a person.

Multiracial Hands Around the Earth Globe

Multiracial Hands Around the Earth Globe


“Respect is a critical element in all healthy relationships. When students respect others, they treat people with consideration and courtesy and do not violate them physically or verbally.” Wise Sklls Resource

If we want to put an end to the  conflicts and bullying in our schools and in our workplaces, everyone must be committed to creating and implementing an ongoing  diverse and all inclusive environment.  When our school administrators, business leaders and parents at home climb on board with an on going message of understanding and respect will our diversity peacefully thrive.

Diverstiy Awareness Month and Black History Month both are heritage celebrations and are vitally important reminders that our learning is continuous and involves a variety of races and cultures with experiences, identities and characteristics that our the foundation of the United States of America.

 “America is not like a blanket… America is more like a quilt with many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven together and held together by a common thread.”  Jesse Jackson


If we focus on our diversity for more than two months out of the year we will continuously refresh our commitment to bully prevention, equality and social justice.

Copyright Richard Paul 2015


Let’s Take The Focus Off The Word Bully



I have been asked to be interviewed by a Christian Broadcast program.  I plan to share the information I share with parents and students in my anti-aggression, bully prevention programs at schools and for school districts and conference events.

The discussion on the program will be bullying in the schools. I have asked my mentor and good friend Nancy Buyle from the MISD to offer up some things I should share on the program, and she wrote me this quick paragraph I would like to share with you.


I would love to impart if is appropriate the fact that 60% of our students/youth do not let us know that they are being mistreated—schools don’t know what they are not informed of. There is way too much focus on “bullying” these days—Bullying is a very specific dynamic—and you know it well…power imbalance, intent and repeated! Children do not yet have the brain capacity to most effectively deal with inappropriate behavior and the brain in youth read emotions very different than adults…and bullying is a very judgmental term and it may be mistreatment but not bullying. We need to teach school staff and students how to develop the skills necessary to negotiate this mistreatment.  We are built to connect and have relationship. “Hurt people, hurt people”.

 Nancy Buyle

I agree with Nancy we need to stop focusing on the word bully and or whether or not some one is bullying and instead get to the root of what is causing the behavior and work to change it.

Nancy and I present programs together on how to work toward changing behavior.

Most schools and parents want a quick fix but that isn’t going to happen because it takes time to learn the behavior and time to unlearn it too.


No Room For Hate


“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela

I am on my way to a school in Pennsylvania and they are kicking off their “No Place for Hate” program at their school.

Since 2001 many schools have implemented this policy in their school.  It is a daily message that every student needs to understand.

The more we hate the more we hurt feelings and could be bullying others.

The more we hate the less likely we will make new friends.

“True confidence leaves no room for jealousy. When you know you are great, you have no need to hate.”

Nicki Minaj

Most of our disrespectful or hateful thoughts and words towards others come from our lack and understanding or confidence in ourselves and our abilities.

We can’t be someone else but we can be ourselves.  The more we work to better ourselves, love ourselves and recognize our greatness, the better our life will be.


Nelson mandela

Be so busy loving your life, loving your family, loving your friends, loving your neighbors, loving your dogs, loving your teachers, loving your world that you have no time to Hate.

Copyright Richard Paul 2015