Class teaches how to handle a bully without fighting

By: Brittany Gunter, WOWT Channel 6 

Bullying is a concern for many parents. So what can be done to prepare kids for a possible situation? 88 Tactical teaches a class to help kids.

Inside the Premier Combat Center at 111th and Q streets in Omaha Sunday morning, children were asked some tough questions. “Raise your hand if you know a bully? How many of you have been bullied?” By the show of hands, dealing with bullies is nothing new for many of them.

That’s why father Kelly Gaeth had his three children take the class. “Kids seem to take it a bit farther than they used to. It used to be kids got picked on in the parking lot and that would be the end of it, but it seems like it’s become more persistent and chronic in today’s society.”

These children will learn how to react without being violent. First up, they learned “the stance” from instructor David Henson. They learned the importance of using their voice when facing a bully. Now, they’ll put their new knowledge to the test.

When Henson wears sunglasses, the kids know he’s now acting as a bully. Gaeth’s daughter Alexandra seemed to get it down. “If I was in the situation I think it would help a lot, the stance and using your voice a lot against a bully.”

Henson says the key is for kids to stay confident, keep eye contact, use a loud voice and back away. It’s a life lesson that 6-year-old Mekenna Shirley is grateful for. “I think it will help a lot because if you got bullied and didn’t know what to do it would hurt a lot.”

A video of two high school girls fighting that aired last week on Channel 6 News caught the attention of many parents, including Katherine Schrage of Omaha. “I saw that video and I thought, I don’t want that to be my child and I want to give them the ability to say no and what to do and how to get a bully to stop picking on them.”

Schrage has two boys, ages 8 and 6, and says they’ve also dealt with bullying. “My child does talk about instances of bullying at school and how they pick on him and he’s kind of shy.” So she decided to sign her boys up for the class. “It will make a difference,” says Schrage. “I love it. I’m watching it and how they’re reacting and taking it in.”

Both girls in the fight video were suspended because of the Millard School District’s zero-tolerance policy. Henson says that’s part of the reason it’s so important for kids to learn to fight back without actually getting violent.

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