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Anti-Bullying Campaign

Spider-Man drops in for visit with students

Published: 12:29PM April 17th, 2014

As part of Child Abuse Prevention month at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Family Advocacy Program partnered with Spider-Man for a week of bullying prevention presentations at various installation schools.

The comic book hero visited 12 schools April 7 to 10, culminating with an appearance at Carter Lake Elementary School’s gymnasium on McChord Field.

Spider-Man represents an avenue the JBLM Family Advocacy Program uses to teach children about bullying and what to do in different situations.

“Superheroes can change things, and kids believe in superheroes,” said FAP manager Elaine Valentine. “A bully impacts a lot of people.”

Last year the JBLM FAP brought Spider-Man to visit students in the Bethel School District, a district which hosts a large number of military children from kindergarten to 12th grade living in Graham and Spanaway.

“We wanted to ensure that children on post had a chance to see Spider-Man,” Valentine said.

Spider-Man spoke to pre-school through fifth grade children about his personal experience as the victim of a bully named Flash Thompson. You don’t have to be afraid to tell the an adult about someone being mean to you, Spider-Man advised.

Students then participated by listing different people they could tell, such as parents, teachers and the school principal.

Spider-Man also led mock scenarios showing how to react to a bully. Another topic discussed was one of a friend who sees someone being bullied and why they should tell an adult about it.

Everything Spider-Man addressed supports the school’s SOAR program — “Safe action, On task, Awesome attitude and Respect” — which teaches students to be both respectful and safe at all times.

“So having Spider-Man come out ties into that message,” said Carter Lake Principal Paul Douglas. “If they see a comic book character promoting it, it sends out a positive message.”

JBLM FAP representatives said they hope to continue the program next year because it excited the students.

Douglas said he might, in the future, ask students to pick another superhero, from a list of five or six names, to visit. Perhaps someone like Iron Man, members of the Fantastic Four, Thor or another member of the Avengers.

“Captain America would be cool,” Douglas said.