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Fighting Bullying Through Hockey

CLEVELAND– Teachers from around northeast Ohio traded in the classroom for a hockey arena all in hopes of teaching their students a valuable lesson.

The kids got to watch the Lake Erie Monsters take on the Rochester Americans while they learned about anti-bullying.

That’s why Quicken Loans Arena was rocking on Tuesday morning.

“Hopefully, they will give us an extra oomph and be the seventh man,” said Lake Erie Monsters head coach Dean Chynoweth.

4500 students from 90 schools around northeast Ohio spent the day learning at a hockey game at Quicken Loans Arena.  The Monsters faced-off against the Rochester Americans while the students got a lesson on of the biggest issues in schools today, bullying.

“Even though the people around you may not be like you, they may not be in your group of friends but if you treat those people the right way they are going to reciprocate those same kind of feelings,” said Jeff Bowler, Sr. Director of Ticket Sales for the Monsters.

“I learned at the Monsters game how to be respectful to my teacher and everything,” said fourth grader Elijah Lewis.

An anti-bullying message at a hockey game may seem strange considering hockey is a sport where fights can break out.

“In hockey when you fight you have to go to the penalty box, in life, when you do something wrong or you fight or you treat somebody the wrong way, there is going to be repercussions and penalties for that,” Bowler said.

Tuesday’s anti-bullying message at the “Q” is already a focus at Cleveland Metropolitan Schools.  They have a program called NOW, or Not On our Watch.

“The NOW program really looks at helping the victim who is being bullied where the kids learn to come around, the kids surround the victim and they embrace the victim against the bullying,” said teacher Elizabeth Nelson.

This is the fifth year the Monsters have put on the Student Education Day.  So far, the students are taking notes.

“There is a gradual change. It takes time but I can see some of the children being more aware of how they talk to and treat their classmates,” said Cheryl Combs, a third grade teacher.

While the Monsters were not able to beat the Rochester Americans, it was still a great day to for students to learn a valuable lesson.

“I hope the kids leave today understanding that it’s important not to bully and if they see bullying activity to alert someone in their school about that,” Nelson said.