CLEVELAND, Ohio --
It may seem ironic that taking students to a hockey game, where fights do break out on occasion, is a good way to teach kids about respect, but that was the message Wednesday afternoon as the Lake Erie Monsters took on the Texas Stars.
7,000 students from all over northeast Ohio attended the game.
"I think this is a wonderful game,” Trejure Williams of Cleveland said.
But these students were here for more than a hockey lesson.
"Bullying has become such a hot topic all over, and we thought it was important to talk about respect,” said Jeff Bowler, Senior Director of Ticket Sales and Service for the Lake Erie Monsters. “And have the students learn how to treat each other, how to treat their parents and their students.”
The students learned life lessons from bullying.
"If you get bullied, tell a teacher if they're doing something wrong," said Josias Turner.
They also learned lessons in respect and self-confidence.
"It taught me to be kind to others and not fight or anything," said Da’Anea Campbeall, of Cleveland.
"Fighting doesn't always solve everything," Williams added.
Special Education Day at the Q is teaching kids about respect, self-confidence and bullying, and it also teaches the kids that these things don't just occur in the classroom, they can occur in a public setting like a stadium.
"It takes place in a classroom when the kids are out of the school, during the summertime and the self-esteem is such an important part about it, and that's why we put so much emphasis on it," said Bowler.
It was a good time had by all.
"It's always fun. They are enthusiastic. It's loud, it's tough to communicate with the players during the game like this, but it is so much fun," Monsters Head Coach David Quinn said after the game.
And perhaps most importantly, a lesson these students won't soon forget:
"We're all different, and we have to treat everyone the same whether they are like you or not,” Bowler added. “Whether they are in your group of friends or they are not, we want to treat everyone with respect."
The students cheered the Monsters to a 4-3 victory. This is the fourth straight victory for Lake Erie who moves into second place in the Western Conference North Division.