Schools use motivational speakers to teach students about effects of bullying
By J.T. Bohland
The New Bullying staff writer
Motivational speakers are being welcomed to schools across the country in efforts to convey messages about anti-bullying.
Richard Paul, a bully prevention specialist from Michigan, has been doing educational programs and school assemblies since the early 1990’s and has since traveled to schools throughout the United States and Canada sharing his message of anti-bullying. However, Paul is no ordinary motivational speaker.
“We all have our bully stories and we’ve all been bullied in some form,” said Paul.
In fact, Paul was born with a birth defect in which his right arm was underdeveloped and as a result he was bullied all throughout school.
“The biggest incident I had was when I was in high school,” said Paul. “There was a kid that would slam me against lockers and call me two fingers all the time and I tell kids this story in my program as an example of bullying.”
However, even with his birth defect, Paul found a unique way to persevere and share his story. At age, 11, he taught himself ventriloquism, a skill that he incorporates into his Duck Sense Bully Prevention Program.
“I really stuck my neck out when I attempted to use ventriloquism to help deliver anti-bully messages, but I was able to put a program together that’s funny and informative to help the kids learn about bullying,” said Paul.
Before bullying became a hot topic in schools and in the media, Paul was doing self-esteem, character building and conflict resolution programs until he was inspired to integrate bullying resolution into his programs.
Over the past three years, Paul has even incorporated a cyber bullying portion to his program due to increases in the severity of bullying online.
“Cyber bullying has made bullying a 24/7 issue,” said Paul. “A kid can be anywhere bullying a kid now, but what’s interesting is that it’s turned targets into bullies, because they can easily bully back or find another victim to take their anger out on. It’s starting to become an epidemic.”
In Oklahoma, Brad “Bradini” Evans, also has a cyber bullying segment to his No Bully Zone program to combat the plague.
“Old school bullying, if you will, was more one on one or in person bullying, but once you were home you were safe,” said Evans. “Now, with cyber bullying you’re not even protected at home.”