By Neil Glat
Football is a game with lots of statistics: which team scored the most points, for how many yards did a quarterback throw in a game, which team won the turnover battle, how many sacks did a defensive player have in a season, how fast can a player run 40 yards, and many more. Football coaches, player personnel executives, and scouts intensively study these numbers, and commentators and fans discuss and debate them during telecasts, on sports talk radio, in newspapers, and on social media.
As President of the New York Jets, an organization that strives to make a positive difference in our community, we also focus on other important statistics. Specifically, those that relate to bullying in our schools. The statistics unfortunately are alarming. One in four children in the United States are bullied, up to 43% of students have reported being cyberbullied, and millions of students miss school at some point during the year due to bullying. The issue, even with increased media attention and school action, is still metastasizing, confirming that we must all do more.
That is why the Jets are committed to "tackling" this problem and "stopping its forward progress." Since 2015, we have partnered with STOMP Out Bullying – the leading national anti-bullying and cyberbullying organization for kids and teens in the United States. Together, we have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cause; conducted anti-bullying symposiums to share best practices with educators; distributed anti-bullying toolkits and visited many local schools; and produced and aired PSAs to raise awareness about the bullying epidemic. Over this time period, we have reached over 700,000 students and worked with educators who are utilizing proven Social Emotional Learning methods. Despite our efforts to date, we know a lot more still needs to be done.
On Tuesday, we and our partner Municipal Credit Union (MCU) are announcing a $200,000 contribution to the New York City Department of Education that has been used to help create *Building Respect: RFA Conversation Skills. *This program offers interactive training modules that allow educators to practice using strategies designed to create bias-free classrooms and to actively monitor and address even seemingly minor instances of bullying.
This program will potentially impact over 1.1 million students and will be available to over 100,000 New York City school professionals, all of whom will be strongly encouraged to complete the training as part of their professional development. In addition, the Jets, STOMP Out Bullying, and MCU will provide incentives – financial and otherwise -- to schools, educators, and administrators to reach 100% program completion rates.
Our goals here are lofty and they should be. We want to elevate the conversation around bullying in the tristate area. We strongly believe these initiatives will make a real difference in people's lives and will hopefully enable us collectively to "cross the goal line" by raising awareness, providing educators with additional tools, and eradicating bullying once and for all.