Education Program Uses Pro Athletes to Stop Bullying

Boston vs. Bullies is run through The Sports Museum at TD Garden

An educational program is going into schools and using the power of professional athletes to stop bullying.

Boston vs. Bullies is run through The Sports Museum at TD Garden. The program uses professional athletes like Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betters and Patriots safety Patrick Chung to teach kids how to identify and react to bullying.

"Bullying is not a fun subject. But we're a very upbeat program in terms of getting kids involved and engaged," said Rusty Sullivan, Executive Director of Boston vs. Bullies.

Sullivan has seen first-hand the power of the uniform.

"Like it or not, athletes are role models," Sullivan said. "We know kids listen to athletes."

"When you get an anti-bullying message from a role model such as a Boston athlete, it hits home a little bit more with the students," said Mary Bonsignore, a 5th grade teacher at Malcolm White Elementary School in Woburn, MA.

The program sends facilitators into classrooms and uses videos and role playing so kids can experience real-life scenarios.

"You've seen a little skit about it, so you probably know how it's going to look like when it actually happens," said 5th grader Michel El-Ashkar.

"I think he [facilitator Ed Donnelly] is teaching us about how we can stop bullying and how to help the bullies and to know if somebody is being bullied," said Olivia McCluskey, a Malcolm White 5th grader.

Teachers say just a couple classroom visits have a deep impact.

"We haven't had as many problems at recess. So I think students are starting to grasp the idea of sticking up for one another," Bonsignore said.

"It's great to see our program is really helping change culture for the better in schools. Because kids should want to go to school," said Sullivan.

About 40,000 students have experienced Boston vs. Bullies since 2012. The program is free and available to any school that's interested.

Contact Us