The Tulsa Drillers and the Tulsa Public Schools jointly announced today that the baseball club is joining the Tulsa Metro Chamber's Partners In Education program to deliver an anti-bullying curriculum to elementary schools in the district.
The Drillers mascot, Hornsby, will visit children in grades K-6, accompanied by The Parent Child Center of Tulsa's "Kids on the Block" puppets. These child-sized puppets, accompanied by performer Jacqueline Gallegos, will present a bully awareness skit. Kids on the Block are frequent visitors to classrooms to teach children how to protect themselves in difficult situations, including bullying, "stranger danger" and physical abuse.
"The Tulsa Drillers take sportsmanship behavior very seriously, both on and off the field," said Mike Melega, general manager of the Tulsa Drillers. "We think it is important to educate students early about healthy responses to bullying, and how to recognize it. Hornsby will be a great advocate for students as he makes his way into elementary schools with the Kids on the Block."
"TPS is thankful to the Tulsa Drillers and the Tulsa Chamber for helping us to shed light on bullying in our schools," said Dr. Keith Ballad, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. "Our teachers and principals are always on the look-out for bullying behavior, as it takes many different forms. As vigilant as we are, however, the sad fact is that we have to equip students to be supportive of each other and to seek help before trouble escalates. Our goal is to create a safe learning environment for all students."
Bullying is a problem of national proportions, as the spotlight has been cast recently on a number of high-profile incidents. Recent research has shown that over 20 percent of students feel unsafe at school due to direct or observed teasing, threats, bullying and other stressors.
Studies have also shown that children who have been identified as a bully by age eight are six times more likely to have a criminal conviction by age 24. Children who are bullies may continue to be bullies as adults, and are more prone to becoming child and spouse abusers.
At TPS, reported instances of bullying have increased in recent years, in part due to better tracking. During the 2010-11 school year, the TPS board strengthened its policy on bullying, and the district has invested heavily in staff development for teachers and administrators to aid in their awareness of bullying behaviors.
Schools interested in learning more about the Anti-Bullying Program, can contact Jacqueline Gallegos with The Parent Child Center of Tulsa at (918) 699-0550.