Celebrity bodyguard helps Knoxville students avoid bullying

Celebrity bodyguard helps Knoxville students avoid bullying

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Kids learn bully avoidance and stranger-danger messages through re-enactments. Kids learn bully avoidance and stranger-danger messages through re-enactments.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - To help prevent bullying, a national safety expert and celebrity bodyguard is traveling the country giving students anti-bullying lessons.

The third, fourth and fifth grade students at Thackston Elementary School got a lesson Thursday from Tom Patire. His Bully Guard program teaches children what to if they're bullied or approached by a stranger.

Kids learn bully avoidance and stranger-danger messages through re-enactments with Patire and his team of bodyguards.

Jonathan Oates paid close attention because he knows how bullying can make a person feel. "It can make them leave the school and feel like their life isn't worth anything," he said.

National safety expert and celebrity bodyguard Tom Patire gave the presentation, and says having the confidence to just walk away from a bully is key.

"You are who you are. You've got to love who you are and you've got to be proud of who you are because of what we teach and what we do, we hope we can instill that in them so they can walk away with confidence and dignity," Patire said.

Patire teaches the students that if you act aggressively, your actions can impact your future. He also says bullying is at a new level because of the Internet and social media. He says parents should warn their kids or just block the sites.

That's something Oates says his mother already knows. "My mom probably wouldn't allow me to get on Facebook or anything like that. She's pretty strict about that because she doesn't want me getting bullied," he said.

Fifth grader teacher Blair Baxter hopes the students learn a lesson from the program. "I hope that they can have that armor and just be able to stop that bullying right in its tracks."

Jonathan Oates says now he knows what to do if he's bullied in the future. "It's just wiser to go away instead of confronting the bully," he explained.

Thursday bight from 6:00-8:00 Tom Patire is holding a "Youth and Teen Safety Jam" at the Knoxville Expo Center, 5441 Clinton Highway. Tickets are $15 a person.

Patire's Bully Guard Program was named one of the top anti-bullying programs at the National Bully Prevention/Child Safety conference.

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