Senior Athletes Take Stand Against Bullying

 A sign in the cafeteria warns students here not to be victims, not to be  perpetrators, but above all else not to be bystanders. This is a school motto the student body and faculty take to heart. The sense of camaraderie here is unmatched by any other school, due in large part to the near absence of bullying. This could be credited to the brotherhood of the school, but since there will never be a complete absence of bullying, many credit Jocks Against Bullies, a club of senior athletes lead by Mr. Richard Cochran.

“Mr. Straessle approached me about starting a network of boys to help observe bullying behavior and help put a stop to it,” said Mr. Cochran. “Mostly the members include the football team because it has the most boys in an athletic setting. We also pull athletes from other sports who show great compassion for helping others and are great leaders themselves.

“We ask each member to observe the student body inside and outside of class to see if any one student is being singled out repeatedly for being bullied. We also stress to the athletes to make themselves available to talk to so that students are comfortable telling them about any bullying behavior,” he said.

Scott Diaz said, “Our main goal is simply to provide a school where anyone can receive an excellent education without having to worry about being harassed. We want everyone to have the best experience possible.”

Daniel Nwachuku, another member, said, “It’s to make sure students don’t feel uncomfortable at school and have a nice learning environment.”

The Jocks are very approachable and open to anyone coming up and talking to them, or even step in themselves if they notice any bullying.

Diaz said, “It goes both ways. Bullying isn’t a very big problem at Catholic, and I’ve only had to stop one incident during my whole time in the club.”

The club’s main goal is to put a stop to bullying, but that’s not all it does.

“We also reach out to kids who are having a rough time adjusting to Catholic’s schedule or academics, and just try to make everyone feel like they have a place here,” said Diaz.

“A lot of times, the athletes intervene with the bully, and the bullying stops,” said Mr. Cochran.

Sometimes, though, neither Mr. Cochran nor the jocks find out if the problem was fixed or if it continues in a hushed manner.

Mr. Cochran said, “Unfortunately, I’ve never received any feedback from people who were being bullied. I suppose the reason is since being bullied can be such an emotional event, boys usually just want to move on and not address it once it’s over. I know we’ve helped them when they come to us for help. The bullying does stop, so we have to assume that no news is good news.”

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