An open letter to all school boards, schools, teachers and parents
I hope this letter finds you all well. As you and everyone else know, bullying is a problem but as I’ve said many times before, it will never go away. As a former youth worker and program director, I feel that the best way to fight bullying is to develop a kid’s self-esteem since a kid with confidence and acceptance of themselves is less likely to be a victim of bullying.
Now I’m well aware that every once in a while you have a school assembly with anti-bullying skits and cheers which are great for reaching kids that already have high self-esteem and confidence. The problem however is reaching the quiet and shy ones. The kids who feel like outsiders aren’t the ones who get all pumped up at these rallies and therefore the message has little effect on them.
I have a suggestion that will include all kids, develop their confidence and self-esteem and teach them a skill that will be far more useful in their lifetime than learning the periodic table or calculus. First aid and CPR training.
Learning first aid and CPR training is not hard and can be taught in only a few days. It’s most likely the only thing a kid will learn in school that could literally save a person’s life and when you make it a part of the school’s curriculum, everyone participates.
Of course, you’ll resist the idea and assume that it’s an expensive program to implement. The program could cost anywhere from $50 – $100 dollars each person when taken with a private company or non-profit association but the cost for such a large number of kids can be dramatically reduced.
Organizations such as the Red Cross have programs to train individuals to be certified instructors so a school board or district with a large number of schools can hire one or two individuals on salary to teach the program to all schools throughout the school year. Smaller school boards can offer the instructor training to one or two substitute teachers and have them offer the programs to the students when they are not scheduled to replace teachers.
The important thing is that this program must be a part of the curriculum and that there is absolutely no cost to the students. This will ensure that every student, including the shy, insecure and quiet ones with low self-esteem, will be able to participate.
The program does not have to be offered to every student, every year. It could be given in grades five, nine/freshmen and twelve/seniors. Those who have already taken the course can be re-certified the next time it’s offered.
Ask anyone who is certified in first aid and CPR and they’ll tell you that you gain a level of confidence from knowing that you can really help someone when they are sick or injured. With an aging population and the level of obesity on the rise, knowing CPR will come in handy. Knowing you can help save a person’s life is empowering.
Contact your local school authorities and explain to them the benefits of offering first aid and CPR training to their students. Tell them that with a confident student body, you will have less problems and more successful kids. It may take some time but if enough people believe in this program and the benefits it will bring, it can work.
Feel free to let me know how it goes.