Boardman Tae Kwon Do School teaching Canfield students bullying prevention skills

By Amanda Tonoli


C.H. Campbell Elementary students do more than break boards during their tae kwon do classes: They are breaking bullying.

“We’re here not to make a dent, but a difference,” said Master Justin Taylor Jr., Tae Kwon Do School of Boardman owner.

Taylor teaches bullying prevention skills to students. He provides an after-school program for $20 per student, which is fully given back to the school. Canfield Village Middle School raised about $2,100 this year.

Ronie Haurin, Canfield physical education teacher, said the program is a win-win for both students and their schools.

“He’s committed to our community and is helping kids get involved in their community,” she said. “That’s the whole focus, benefiting the kids.”

Haurin said a notable benefit is learning how to overcome bullying – a much discussed topic in schools.

“Confidence is the main thing we build when we talk about bullying,” Taylor said. “When they’re getting picked on we address how to demonstrate confident body language, the importance of eye contact and addressing the bully. We also talk about when telling is not tattling.”

Another more serious topic Taylor teaches to younger students is stranger awareness – a subject he feels needs addressed.

“Not a lot of people are teaching about strangers right now,” he said. “When the whole ‘stranger danger’ thing came out when we were kids, child abductions went up because we were all looking for the guy with the black trench coat hiding behind the tree. And, of course, now we know as adults that’s not what the person is going to look like who intends to steal a child.”

Taylor sent a brochure home for parents about strangers, spoke with students about good and bad strangers and discussed the importance of a family password.

The physical side of Taylor’s teaching comes as a reward when students are active, focused and paying attention.

“Sometimes we get to break boards and practice just normal martial arts,” he said. “My main goal is I just really want to see a difference. We’re here not to make a dent, but a difference and that’s what we really are here to do. When I lay my head down on the pillow tonight I feel good about who I am and what I’m doing in this world.”

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