Anti Bullying Slogans for Schools

If you’re looking for anti bullying slogans for schools, to post above chalkboard walls or hang on classroom doors, why not consider the word “Representation”?

Though admittedly not as catchy as other anti bullying slogans for schools, explain Representation well and kids will better understand when abusive behavior warrants action and why.

When I ask Verbal Self Defense participants “Who do you represent?”, I get varied answers, but so far no one has ever said “I represent myself first and foremost”. When I point out that we represent ourselves before anyone else, the look I get says, “Wait, I knew that”. Maybe so, but because I have yet to hear anyone say it, let me take a moment to explain Representation.

Representation works like a bulls-eye. We’re the dot in the center. We represent ourselves first and foremost. The next concentric circle represents the people closest to us. In our private life that’s generally our immediate family – the people who live under our same roof. Because this group is closest to us, anything we do, good or bad, ripples over them the strongest.

The next circle represents our extended family or closest friends. The circle after that can represents our neighbors, our schools, or community… and so on.

Though we always represent ourselves first, who we represent next may change. In our professional life for example, the circle closest to us may represent our co-workers, our employer, or the establishment we work for. While coaching little league, we represent ourselves, then other coaches and staff, players, the league and our even sponsors.

We’re always the bulls-eye. Who we represent next can vary depending on the role we’re filling or the circumstances we find ourselves in, but every circle is connected. Every circle is an extension of the center.

The who part of Representation is fairly easy to understand and articulate. Anyone can do it in just a few minutes, little kids included. The what part of representation deals with ethics – the value set that defines how we live our life. Articulating what we represent is, for most, much harder.

To explain the who and the what of Representation to kids I sometimes ask whether starting a forest fire for fun is a bad thing to do. All agree that it is. Then I ask whether it’s worse if a fireman does it. All agree it’s worse.

Kids tell me it’s worse when a fireman does it because the fireman is supposed to protect us from fires. “Are you saying that the fireman is misrepresenting himself, his uniform, his fellow fireman, his department and us, the people who he swore to protect?”, I ask. Yes, that’s exactly what the kids are saying.

We sometimes think of bad behavior as being just that, bad. But there are levels of bad and even kids know this. The fireman’s actions aren’t just bad, they’re morally indefensible. Bad or offensive we often explain away and stomach, but morally indefensible is different. Morally indefensible is intolerable.

I use the made up fireman story to illustrate that what we’re willing to accept, or not, is a function of our value set.

Representation, when talked through calmly and carefully, helps us identify who we’re connected to and have a responsibility toward (people, places, things) and what we stand for (our core values).

In our class, we tell kids the notion that “this is my life and I can do what I want with it” is flawed because we represent more than just ourselves.

We also talk about values and point out to our kids that once they identify their values, making tough decisions, and even making friendships (or braking them), will become easier.

But life is complicated, is it not? Not everything is as black and white as the fireman’s story. The world is full of gray, so how do we teach our kids to navigate the gray?

Here is a kid, or maybe a group of kids, flicking lunchroom corn at another kid sitting across the way. The bystanders know this is bad behavior. They feel diminished by it, but is this behavior intolerable? Is it worthy of action?

I ask my daughter whether fair treatment is reserved for some but not all, whether watching a person being humiliated is something that she can accept and turn away from, and whether protecting those who can’t protect themselves is one of her core values.

I ask whether she thinks courage means that you’re never afraid or whether it’s possible that though you’re afraid, you stand up for what you believe in because in your heart you know what’s right and what’s not.

I ask who, in the corn tossing scenario above, is misrepresenting themselves, misrepresenting her, her classmates, her teachers, her school, her community – and who isn’t. I ask her if this scene contradicts her belief of what school should be like. I ask her if she can tolerate it.

I don’t ask her these questions because I need her to do something about the corn flickers, or because I want to know what she’s made of. I ask her these questions because I want her to know what she’s made of.

If my daughter can tolerate a kid throwing corn at another kid, I may not like it, but there’s a lot I don’t like. My job is not to command her to act. My job is to ask questions that force her to define who she cares about and what she believes in – and to point out when her definition of herself doesn’t match her actions.

Representation – knowledge of who and what we stand for – may help us turns much of life’s gray into black and white.

Representation is one of several Verbal Self Defense principles taught by Krav Maga New York to class participants ages 7 and up.

These and other anti bullying slogans for schools (and anti bullying lessons) are available to our community upon request.

Hope to see you in class,

Team Krav Maga New York

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