Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Toro says ‘No Bullying!’

Several hundred Pine Shadows Elementary School students cheered on Toro, the mascot of the Houston Texans, as the lovable, bull-headed character visited Sept. 12 to teach students how to prevent and stop bullying behavior.

The Texans anti-bullying initiative, officially titled “TORO Takes the BULL out of Bullying,” is several years old.

The initiative is supported by the Houston Texans and by National Oilwell Varco (NOV), which has area offices and is a partner in SBISD’s Good Neighbor program.

At Pine Shadows Elementary, Toro the mascot rolled into the school’s cafeteria on a two-wheeled, self-balancing Segway personal transport. The gathered students in grades three through five greeted the plush bull with a loud cheer.

Since the popular Texans mascot doesn’t speak aloud, Toro “teaches” anti-bullying lessons through a prerecorded video that includes a Texans broadcaster and Texans players Chris Myers, a Pro Bowl center, and Whitney Mercilus, a linebacker, and a cheerleader introduced only by first name, Kim.

Toro kept students focused on the video presentation with dance steps and T-shirt giveaways for students who answered questions correctly. Students gained insights into proactive ways to recognize types of bullying – Big Mouth Bullying, such as name calling; Hands On Bullying like pinching, hitting and kicking; Stay Out Bullying, or excluding others; and the Cyber Bully who is known to hurts others online.

“I know what it feels like to be bullied, and it doesn’t feel very good. No one ever should be or feel scared to go to school,” said Texans center Chris Myers. During the program at Pine Shadows, students were taught about the different roles that people might take with bullies and how to respond to bullying behavior in easy to follow statements and actions.

The five letters in “BULLY” had companion calls to action: 

• B = Be Confident 
• U = Use Your Voice 
• L = Leave 
• L = Look Out for Others 
• Y = “Y” Would You Bully? 

The anti-bullying program was coordinated by Pine Shadows Assistant Principal Chris Winstead.

The program has been held at the elementary school previously. “We were thrilled that they asked us to host them again. It’s such a great program for our kids,” Winstead said. Pine Shadows Principal is Joyce Olson.


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