Keeping our schools safe means growing students who stand up to bullies, and who are not afraid to ask for help if they have a mental health concern. To end #SaySomething Call to Action Week, Mason Middle School Comets participated in a powerful anti-bullying assembly on October 28. Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) veteran Tom Murphy and Iraq war veteran Rick Yarosh's energetic and interactive presentation focused on victims and bullies, and the bystanders who can be empowered to make a difference.
"It is important that we give actionable information to our kids about bullying. They need tools in their toolbox to say something - to do something - to stand up for their classmates and be upstanders, not bystanders," shared MMS Principal Tonya McCall.
Watch WKRC Local 12's coverage of the assembly.
Murphy is the co-founder of Sweethearts & Heroes, an organization that emphasizes an action-based approach — going beyond awareness — to encourage students to "stand up, speak up because you have the power to be someone's superhero or sweetheart." The root of the Sweethearts & Heroes presentation, and all of the organization’s efforts, are five Bully Buttons that combine to form a call to action against bullying. Murphy refers to his UFC career as the ‘delicious hook’ for students to gain their attention, and in response he begins the presentation by stating “I hate fighting.”
“Just talking about awareness doesn’t fix anything,” says Murphy. “What separates us from other anti-bullying presentations and projects is that we have the plan to curb and even stop bullying in your school, or wherever it exists for you. October is Bullying Awareness Month, so we were pumped to bring our messages to Mason. What a wonderful and respectful bunch of seventh and eighth graders. Can't wait to see what these young superheroes do!”