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Empowering kids, defusing bullies

Sweethearts and Heroes presents anti-bullying program to Schalmont students

Thomas Murphy, a professional MMA fighter who works with Sweethearts and Heroes, a non-profit organization aimed at stopping bullying, talks to Schalmont Middle School students Thursday, March 22.

Thomas Murphy, a professional MMA fighter who works with Sweethearts and Heroes, a non-profit organization aimed at stopping bullying, talks to Schalmont Middle School students Thursday, March 22. Submitted photo

— Murphy said 60 percent of all students believe kids who get bullied deserve it, so that’s the first hurdle to overcome. Also, bullies get away with their actions around 95 percent of the time.

“Our children know who, what, when and where this happens, because they see it every day,” Murphy said. “We hang up posters that say zero tolerance and we think that that is the answer to stopping them.”

Every seven seconds a teen is bullied in this country, with 250,000 bullied each month, he said. Also, he said 65 percent of teens don’t report it, which bring the monthly total closer to 500,000.

Every single year he said 100,000 kids leave school and never go back, due to bullying. Also, he said 160,000 kids skip school every day due to bullying and will fake being sick.

“I did the elementary school yesterday and after I gave the presentation the principal came up to me and he said, ‘Tom, you are so right, because I have a 4th grader right now in the nurse’s office pretending she is sick because she is being bullied by a little boy that was in one of your programs,’” he said.

Only around 5 to 7 percent of children in the school are really bullied, with around the same percentage acting as bullies, he said. In order for someone to be bullied, he said, it has to be habitual intimidation. There also has to be the element of the other person being smaller or weaker, he said.

“A lot of parents will think things are bullying, but they are really not,” he said.

When the word “bully” was first coined in the 1530s it meant “sweetheart,” he said. In the 17th century the word became distorted to mean harasser of the weak, which is where the term evolved to modern usage.

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