Protectors, founded in 2005, was born from personal experience and a unique understanding into a fundamental weakness to existing anti-bullying programs. As a Target of bullying while in elementary school, Founder and President Paul Coughlin knows just how damaging such a campaign of cruelty can be to a person’s emotional and psychological wellbeing–damage that can harm a person well into adulthood. Some never recover.
Unlike traditional anti-bullying efforts that focus primarily upon reforming children who bully and which are historically ineffective. The Protectors focuses primarily upon the potential strength, heroic desire, and rescuing capacity of Bystanders, transforming them into what we call “Alongside Standers.” We also provide assertiveness training for Targets, help Authority dispel the many damaging myths about bullying, and inspire children who bully to employ their power in life-affirming directions instead.
Studies show that Bystanders possess the most potential power to transform what we call the “Theater of Bullying” into a theater of character, freedom and justice. One study revealed that if only one Bystander, who doesn’t even need to be popular, uses his or her assertive but non-violent words in defense of a Target, that the incident of bullying can end 58% of the time within 6 to 8 seconds. By intervening on behalf of Targets, Bystanders will not only create safer and happier schools, but also create greater character within themselves and others.
Studies also show that the majority of Bystanders who witness bullying know it is wrong. They feel it is wrong and often express great sadness and sympathy for the Target. Yet most fail to act as if bullying is wrong due to lack of courage. The Protectors curriculum for students and faculty, and live Courageous U Tour presentations to students and parents, provides the training, inspiration and exhortation required to grow courage, the virtue that bolsters all other virtues. Without courage, said Maya Angelou among others, we are unable to practice any virtue consistently. Such courage training is essential to any school’s character development program, since, as Aristotle explained, “We only become courageous by doing courageous deeds.”
In its landmark National Bullying Prevention Campaign (2006), the Health Resources and Services Administration identified 10 strategies that represent best practices in bullying prevention. The Protectors provides all–especially as they relate to Bystanders and courage formation, which is essential to character development and providing a lasting solution to child-on-child aggression. Specifically, the report explained how schools need to create an environment where it is “‘uncool’ to bully, [and] ‘cool’ to help out kids who are bullied.” The Protectors helps your school create a climate where courage is “cool” by celebrating Bystander intervention through Courage Awards, special presentations, and through the age-old appeal to what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature,” this heroic instinct that exists within us all to actively help others in need. Through The Protectors, children learn to become heroic, growing in character and stature, through completing heroic deeds.
The Protectors helps children of all ages understand that they can feel fear and still obey their conscience by doing the right thing anyway. We also bring to your school the remarkable “Power of Two,” where we help your students take the “buddy system” to the next school-changing level by having them defend Targets in pairs–bolstering courage, increasing success, and transforming your school one pair of courageous children at a time.
Paul Coughlin has more than 15 years of coaching experience, including his current position as a boy’s varsity soccer coach where he was voted Coach of the Year twice. He is a father of three and is a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Mary’s School in Medford, Oregon. He is a best-selling author of eight books, including the freedom-from-bullying parent and teacher resource, Raising Bullyproof Kids. He is an international speaker who has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, C-SPAN, Newsweek, New York Times, and The LA Times among other media outlets. His anti-bullying curriculum is used throughout North America as well as in South Africa, Uganda, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil among other countries.
Paul is also a popular men’s conference speaker who has inspired thousands across North American as well as in Wales, England and other countries. Contact Paul to have him speak at your next event by clicking here!