Chris Kuykendall is a high school football star in New Mexico. He’s a popular young man with many friends at Hobbs High School. But that wasn’t always the case; when Chris was younger, he was bullied in school. When he heard a kid was being bullied, it brought back a flood of painful memories.
The student in question is a 5-year-old who was being bullied so badly that he would throw up before school. Chris knew that feeling and knew how profoundly it impacted his life. That’s why he knew he had to step in to help this young child.
Chris wanted to show the bullies just how popular this young child was. He knew that because he was an older student, he could greatly influence these kids and potentially stop the bullying once and for all. But he also knew he couldn’t fight fire with fire and had to come up with a creative solution.
That’s why Chris took the opportunity to invite this little boy to sit with him at lunch. When all the other kids saw the bullied boy sitting with a popular older kid, it gave them a new perspective on this child. The bullying actually stopped immediately as the other kids realized just how cool this boy was.
The boy, for his part, began to develop self-confidence and respect for himself. The vomiting and shame became a thing of the past. He actually made new friends and began to do much better in school.
Chris’s friend Brevin saw the impact Chris had on this young boy and wanted to contribute. The two started a group called Eagle Buddies that pairs bullied students with athletes. These older kids can have a major impact on the behavior of other students. When the other kids see respected older kids spending time with the bullied kids, it completely changes everyone’s behavior.
This is important because bullying has a profound impact on children. Kids who are bullied have higher incidence of depression and anxiety, have poor academic performance, and tend to have higher rates of substance abuse and suicide. These kids carry this bullying throughout their lives.
Kids who bully actually have problems, as well. These kids are more likely to engage in reckless sexual behavior, more likely to get arrested, and more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
It’s clear that bullying has a negative impact on everyone involved. That’s why schools are finding creative ways to end bullying.
This is just the type of program that schools should be starting. Some kids are reluctant to talk about bullying, worried that the punished kids will just bully them further. By using other means to stop bullying, kids will feel less scared to talk about it, and bullies will be less likely to bully other children. It’s a great way to end this terrible behavior once and for all.
We commend Chris and Bevin on their great work. Hopefully with kids like this, we can put an end to bullying once and for all.