MILLBURN, NJ - What does it take to stomp out bullying? The Millburn Board of Education (BOE) heard that answer from two middle school students at last night's meting, as part of a presentation on the Stomp Out Bullying program at the school.
Sixth graders Tom Bredlau and Seth Eilenberg were on hand to present before the board. The duo were two of the 16 students honored by the Jets the program works each week of the NFL regular season by selecting one student per week.
That student is then called an upstander, and is honored for the work they've done to stomp out bullying in the middle school community.
For both boys, thy each recounted acts of kindess that got them recognized, and said how happy they were to both be upstanders.
"I helped out a teacher to get into the program," Bredlau said. "And I think the program's really good because it encourages people not only about good grades at school, but also to be kind."
"I first got involved when I helped my classmates with carrying their books and giving them pencils" Eilenberg added. "I'm really happy that I'm part of this program right now."
As Peter Bredlau, Tom's father noted after the meeting, his son also found it funny that after years of his dad taking him to Jets games, he could turn around and take him to a Jets game with the free tickets he got for the honor.
Steve Chernoski, the Leadership and Human Rights teacher at the Middle School said that for each of the students who is recognized, the publicity that comes with the honor in the school is an incentive to students to also raise their conduct, to potentially be awarded as well.
At the end of the year, the Jets send in a player from the team to talk to students. Last year, Jets center Jonotthan Harrison spoke before the students and talked about when he was bullied growing up.
For BOE president Alex Zaltsman, the presentation was eye-opening, and he said he enjoyed hearing about the football player visit most of all.
"One of the things I really liked today was hearing the story of the football player from the Jets who told a personal story about him being bullied," Zaltsman said "And so I think having kids hear that from someone that's a pro football player is huge.
"I think that it's extremely important for kids to be exposed to role models that have gone through bullying and explain the terrible thing that they went through and to educate kids so that they do not do it and help other through if they are being bullied."
Read up on the Jets anti bullying program here: https://www.newyorkjets.com/community/tackle-bullying/