Members of the Army National Guard live by the values of duty, honor, integrity, loyalty, personal courage and respect. They also serve in the communities in which they live. It is not surprising then that many empower students in their local high schools by helping them understand how to respectfully take a stand against bullying.
SGT Richard Schneider’s service in his South Carolina community is a notable example of this. After many hours of training, SGT Schneider became a qualified HEAR instructor. Consequently, proactive educators at Manning High School invite him to work with their students and appreciate that the Guard offers this at no cost to them.
HEAR stands for Helping Everyone Achieve Respect and is a 60-minute workshop and set of resources developed by Career Training Concepts, Harvard Graduate School of Education and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. SGT Schneider uses HEAR to augment teaching and learning focused on building healthy relationships and preventing and responding to bullying.
When asked about his experiences, he noted that Guard members, like himself, who are trained to teach HEAR are ideal resources for schools. They live, work and serve in their own communities. They care about the people and want the best for those around them. The role of the National Guard is to help the local community in times of need, and what better way of helping a community than making it a safer place overall? He wisely elaborated, “If we can create a respectful environment in the school, it will reflect in the community.”
One reason SGT Schneider is personally committed to helping in this way is because he remembers being bullied in high school. He recalls how helpless he felt and believes that if he can prepare even one student to handle bullying with success, then he is successful.
He also commented that students stay engaged during the HEAR presentation, probably for several reasons. First, they really want to know what to do if faced with bullying. SGT Schneider facilitates class discussion around HEAR content. Students have opportunities to think about the importance of character, what is and is not bullying, the consequences of such behavior, practical strategies to combat bullying, and ways to positively change the school culture. Also, as a former target of bullying, he speaks about real life lessons and experiences, and because he is actively involved in the school community, students know that he understands the reality of their daily lives. By using HEAR and “being real,” he builds trust and rapport with students, which enables him to help build a more supportive environment for everyone.
HEAR Survey data show that students indeed benefit from SGT Schneider’s HEAR presentations. He recently presented in classrooms totaling 176 students. Of those, 90% of the students who participated in SGT Schneider’s presentation reported that it helped them better understand bullying – what it is and why people do it. Most (87%) said the presentation influenced their commitment to respecting and including others, and 86% agreed that they learned what to do if they witness bullying.
SGT Schneider hopes that each student understands that they are in control of their own life, and they have the choice to stop bullying not only for themselves but also for others. As a Guardsmen, he tries to live each day with character and wisdom that shape the well-being of the community and is dedicated to using HEAR to inspire young people do the same.
You can read more about SGT Schneider’s HEAR presentations featured in a recent article in the Sumter Item, the hometown paper of all who call Manning, South Carolina home. You can read the article by clicking here.
For information about scheduling HEAR in your community, visit the HEAR website.