Raancho Bernardo High’s students were taught an anti-bullying lesson while watching professional BMX riders perform stunts in the school’s gym.
The ASA High School Tour assembly — presented twice on Friday to accommodate all students — was sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps, the Anti-Defamation League and ASA Entertainment.
The tour is a high-energy action sports circuit that goes across the country to support the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate campaign and the campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, according to its website, asahighschooltour.com. It features some of the world’s top professional skateboarders, inline skaters and BMX riders from the X Games who perform while an educational message is presented “in a fun, positive and interactive fashion.”
According to organizers, the shows use “the allure of action sports and the credibility of the top pros to communicate a peer-to-peer bullying prevention and anti-smoking message.” While each show costs $20,000 per day, they are free to the schools due to tour partners. Tour manager Tyler Hank said the spring tour will have the group visiting 120 schools over several weeks.
Bullying prevention was the focus at RB High, with BMX rider and tour emcee Dustin Grice sharing the message while BMX riders Pat Casey, Alex Landeros, Mykel Larrin and Anthony Napolitan performed numerous stunts that had them flying through the air on their bikes. At one point teachers Shannon Hogan, Emily Nathanson, Amy Peck and Terri Rogelstad were joined by Grice in lying down side-by-side on the floor as Larrin jumped over them with his bike. While riding his bike Larrin also flipped over Principal Dave LeMaster, who was sitting on a chair at the top of the bike ramp.
“I remember when I was in school, they would try to sit you in class (for programs), but it was hard to pay attention,” Grice said. “Here we mix in the world’s best action sports athletes and the students subconsciously listen (to the message).”
At the end, Grice quizzed the students on what he said. There were prizes for those who answered the stats and other details correctly. His message included:
• Twenty-eight percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported being bullied at school.
• Twenty-four percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported being cyber bullied.
• Forty-seven percent of high school students never reported the incident.
• Eighty-eight percent of teens have seen someone be cruel on social media.
“The most interesting number to me is that every single day 160,000 students miss school because of bullying,” Grice said. “That is such a powerful number.”
In addition to the BMX show, representatives from the U.S. Marine Corps distributed prizes to students who participated in pull up and chin up contests. Among those assisting were 2016 RB High alumnus Matthew Nelson plus seniors Chase Layne and Ceasar Robinson, who said they will all start their Marine Corps training at MCRD San Diego in a few months.
Prizes awarded to contest participants were to reinforce the message that “nothing is given, it is earned,” said Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Richard Bidwell, Jr.