WWE Promotes Anti-Bullying 'Be A Star' Campaign Ahead of Wrestlemania 28
The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the biggest professional wrestling organization in the world, is pushing its anti-bullying "Be A STAR" campaign ahead of Wrestlemania 28 on April 1, the company's biggest annual event.
"Be A STAR" (Show Tolerance And Respect) is funded by the WWE along with Creative Coalition, a nonprofit entertainment organization. Its mission is "to ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness." "Be A STAR" promises to promote positive methods of social interaction and encourage people to treat others as equals and with respect.
"Be A STAR" ads are regularly run during WWE shows in which several big-name wrestlers, including stars such as Triple H and John Cena, advocate for teaching children the importance of standing up and speaking out against bullying. Superstars have also gone to several schools and live events where they have spoken with children, their parents and educators about the need to raise awareness for the issue. Some of the places WWE stars have visited include schools in Los Angeles, Boston, St. Louis, Kansas City, Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Earlier this month, the WWE held another of its "Be A STAR" events, when a number of big-name superstars visited Tyl Middle School in Montville, Conn., and shared their experiences about being bullied when they were in school.
"I was physically, unbearably bullied," said Irish-born WWE superstar Sheamus. "I felt there was something wrong with me."
When he asked the students in attendance of the general assembly to raise their hands if they had ever been bullied, nearly half of them did so, NorwichBulletin.com revealed.
"I didn't want to come to school. I hated myself," continued the wrestler, who will be competing for the WWE Heavyweight title at this year's Wrestlemania. "I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. It wasn't a pleasant time." Sheamus also shared that at a young age he was small, quiet, introverted, and that he was beaten and teased by other students.
"Don't ever let anyone tell you there's nothing you can't do," he said.
Mary Jane Dix, the Tyl Middle School principal, shared that the school had been concentrating on efforts to try and stop bullying, and the "Be A STAR" campaign was helpful because it reinforced the messages and conversations about bullying.
"I think bullying happens everywhere," School Resource Officer Karen Moorehead said. "There's just a flux with kids when they hit middle school because they're trying to figure out who they are."
As part of the campaign, the WWE has also joined an alliance that includes STOMP Out Bullying, the National Education Association Health Information Network (NEA HIN) and other anti-bullying organizations. The WWE has also introduced a teacher's anti-bullying resource in agreement with national education standards and consists of nine lesson plans that teachers can access for free.
The WWE also debuted "Be A STAR" chapter toolkits to help schools and communities start their own be a STAR chapters. The kits include a guide on how to start the chapter, suggested activities, resources, a poster and additional useful tools to combat bullying.
Wrestlemania 28 airs live on pay per view from Miami, Florida on Sunday, April 1s at 7 p.m. EST.