A nationally recognized authority on bullying prevention and youth motivational speaker will visit Mansfield Senior High School this month.
Tom Thelen is the founder of the Victimproof Bully Prevention Program, a curriculum that helps kids speak up to bullying and become a positive influence at their school. Thelen will speak to freshmen students throughout the day on Monday, January 22, then conduct a 6:30 PM session for parents and other community members.
Assistant Principal Andrew Schiefer, who directs Senior High’s freshman academy, said Thelen will bring a timely and impactful message. “We are doing everything we can to eliminate bullying to create a safe environment for our students, but so much happens outside the walls of our building,” Schiefer said. “Having Tom give our students tools that they can use into adulthood and in the real world to combat bullying will resonate for everyone.
“Combining Tom’s message with follow-up and support from the community, we can do more to make our students feel safe. We want to send a message to our parents and students that we want to end bullying within our school entirely.”
Thelen, the author of “Victimproof – The Student’s “Guide to End Bullying,” has spoken at more than 500 schools, colleges and youth organizations. He has been featured on FOX, CBS, PBS and at The National Association of Student Councils. “A new study by the U.S. Department of Education shows that 30 percent of sixth-graders experience bullying on a regular basis,” Thelen said. “And by the time they reach 12th grade that number is reduced to 15 percent, which is still way too high. If we’re ever going to reduce bullying, we have to give kids practical skills for how to handle it and how to get help.”
Schiefer said parents play a key role. “It’s just as important for our parents and community to hear Tom’s message as well,” Schiefer said. “We want to be partners with parents and this is a great way to start a conversation with their children about bullying, whether they are the victim of bullying or the bully.
“We all want what’s best for our kids and this is a good way to start.”
Thelen, a victim of bullying as a young student, credits a teacher who stepped in and helped him develop the character needed to break free from bullying. “It was a total change of mindset,” he said. “I used to carry grudges with anyone who would bully me, but I learned that bitterness was only bringing me down. The thing that changed my life was realizing that my response was totally up to me and even if I was victimized I didn’t have to stay a victim forever.”
Source: Mansfield City Schools