Rochester Knighthawks talk to students in Spencerport about bullying

Posted at: 11/01/2012 5:32 PM
Updated at: 11/01/2012 6:59 PM
By: Robin De Wind

The Rochester Knighthawks are trying to prevent bullying in local schools. The kids are hearing first hand from professional athletes about their personal experiences.

It's estimated 30% of students in sixth through tenth grade in the United States are involved in bullying on a regular basis. Members of the Rochester Knighthawks are working with one local school to try and teach kids to stand up to bullies.

Cosgrove Middle School in Spencerport has teamed up with the Knighthawks as part of their anti-bullying curriculum.

Irondequoit native and Knighthawks forward Joe Walters spoke to sixth graders about his experience when he was their age.

After transferring to a new school, Walters says he was bullied because of his Vietnamese heritage. He told the kids that the problem was only resolved after he reported the abuse to a teacher.

As an anti-bullying advocate, he encouraged the kids to seek help from parents , school counselors, the principal or friends. Walters say as an athlete and role model he wants to teach kids to stand up for themselves.  The kids were asked to sign a pledge to try and be positive role models.
Joe Walters, Knighthawks Forward, said, “My parents say something, but when someone else says it, I listen. When kids see us and we come to the school, they might pay attention. We've done a great job trying to get that message across.”

Ned Dale, Principal, said, “Joe is a role model. So it's great to hear that he has struggled and using his status that it's okay to say something and do something.”

New legislation went into effect this summer requiring schools in New York State to offer an anti bullying curriculum.

Cosgrove already had programs in place. The Knighthawks decided to take up this issue this year to try and reach out to local kids.