Austintown kids learn bullying isn't cool
By Elise Franco
Fourth-graders at Frank Ohl Intermediate School learned that bullies aren’t cool.
Jerry Raven and Judd Sunshine, known as The Hill Brothers, have spent the past 10 years traveling to schools mainly in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York to educate students about the dangers of bullying. On Friday, the pair stopped by Frank Ohl in Austintown to bring their message to the fourth-grade class.
Sunshine said they relate well with children on the topic of bullying because of how they approach the subject.
“We use music and humor to relay our message that it’s not cool to bully,” he said. “We teach them, through those methods, how to avoid it and that they shouldn’t suffer alone and to seek help.”
Raven said the show’s concept is to break the bullying cycle.
“The bully and the victim have a ‘contract’ where the victim can’t tell on the bully,” he said. “We show kids how it’s OK to ask for help.”
During the assembly, the children were asked to listen to the message The Hill Brothers were presenting. They also were encouraged to participate to help the message sink in.
Sunshine explained the goal always is to create and maintain a bully-free school and community. During their opening song, the pair sang, “A bully is someone who is not cool. ... No place for bullies in our school.” They then reinforced that bullying outside of school is just as bad.
Bethany Batdorff, Frank Ohl principal, said this is the second year The Hill Brothers have visited the school. Batdorff said they connected with students last year, and it was decided to bring them back.
“They’re using fun songs, dancing and jokes to connect with the kids,” she said. “It really gets through to them better than just lecturing.”
Batdorff said Frank Ohl doesn’t suffer from a bullying problem, and events such as this one are wholly preventive.
“We really believe that giving them a little jingle to sing will help remind them,” she said.
At the end of the assembly, Raven and Sunshine asked the students to take an anti-bullying pledge.
“If you keep that promise you’ll have a bully-free school,” Sunshine said.
For information about The Hill Brothers, visit www.hillbrothers.net.