Wool E. Bull delivers anti-bullying message to Lakewood

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 05:23 PM

If you’re trying to deliver a message to children, there’s no one better for the job than Wool E. Bull, the beloved mascot of the Durham Bulls baseball team.
On Friday, the Bulls organization and the Durham Public Schools tapped into Wool E.’s rock star-like appeal among children to drive home an anti-bullying message to more than 450 students at Lakewood Elementary School.
The event was the launch of the Bull’s new “Bully Busters” anti-bullying program designed to teach children throughout the Triangle to recognize bullying behavior and what to do if they witness or experience bullying.
The children squealed with delight at the first sighting of Wool E. who later showed them a video with sketches of the mascot being bullied by students in a classroom setting.
As everyone knows, Wool E. doesn’t talk, so Krista Boyd, director of promotions for the Bulls did the talking for him.
“Bullying is when someone is being mean over and over again on purpose,” Boyd said after one video sketch showed children making negative comments about Wool E.’s famous horns.
In another sketch, a kid hits Wool E. on the back of the head with a ball of paper while he worked a math problem on the chalk board.
And when Wool E. returned to his seat, another child pulled his chair from underneath him.
The children reacted with whispers of concern. 
In the final sketch, Wool E. turned bully by taping a “kick me” sign on the back of his companion, then kicking her.
“By copying the behavior of the Bully, you’re just as bad as they are,” Boyd admonished.
After that, Wool E. and Boyd drafted four children to hold signs containing tips about how to handle bullying.
Here are the tips:
 Do not bully back or fight back.
 Talk to a trusted adult.
 Support the bully’s target and not the bully.
 Stick with your buddies.
In exchange for taking a pledge “to not bully or be mean – not one bit,” and returning the pledge to school signed by students and their parents or guardians, the Bulls will give each child two tickets to attend a Durham Bulls baseball game.
“We want all of these kids to turn the pledge back in,” said Scott Carter, the Bulls director of marketing. “If they come back and say you owe us a 1,000 tickets, then that’s great.”
Bully Busters draws content from Capitol Broadcasting Company's – the owner of the Bulls -- “Character Matters” initiative, which works in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
Carter said the Bulls became interested in the bullying issue because its one that impacts schools everywhere.
“It’s a problem that only gets worse as the get older,” Carter said. “We’re trying to get on top of it early.”
Neida Robles, a Lakewood fifth-grader said bullying does occur at school sometimes and on the bus.
“It’s really horrible when it happens,” Robles said. “We talk to the teachers about it.”
Robles said it is up to the fifth-graders to show the younger children at the school that bullying is not acceptable.
She said she believes the anti-bullying program has the potential to make a difference.
“If the bullies liked it, I hope they change their minds about being bullies,” Robles said. “If they don’t, then they’re setting a bad example for the younger kids and we’ll have to talk to the teachers about it.”
Lakewood Principal Lakesha Roberts said bullying is not a big problem at the school because teachers and administrators get in front of problems before they get out hand.
“Teachers deal with small issues early on and stay attuned to what’s going on,” Roberts said. 
She said anti-bullying messages are also woven into character-building and citizenship lessons at the school.
School administrators interested in booking a Bully Busters assembly can contact Nicholas Tennant at 919.687.6502 or ntennant@durhambulls.com.