By Barbara Read
The University of Michigan volleyball team held its first-ever "Block Out Bullying" match on Friday against Eastern Michigan.
Dexter’s entire Creekside Intermediate School student body was among the 1,200 students from Ann Arbor and surrounding school districts invited to the campus to participate in fun and educational activities with U-M student-athletes.
U-M Coach Mark Rosen set the tone for the day by telling the students they could root for whichever team they wanted, but there was to be no rooting against the opposing team.
“When bullying goes on, there are usually at least three people involved: the person getting bullied, the person doing the bullying and someone who sees it,” Rosen said.
He told the students that most of the time, they would probably be the person observing the bullying.
“If you are the person who sees what’s happening, what can you do?” he asked.
Alana, a fifth-grade student at Creekside, suggested, “You can try to stop it.”
After a few more ideas, Rosen agreed with the students and challenged them to be that person who stands up and supports someone who is being bullied.
Before showing students the video, “Block Out Bullying,” Rosen introduced the Michigan volleyball players and coaches, who wore special T-shirts with the name or phrase that they were bullied with on the back of the shirt.
Following the video presentation, students met with U-M athletes from a variety of sports, including field hockey and gymnastics. The Michigan students shared experiences with bullying and handed out blank paper and markers. Students were instructed to make paper airplanes using common bully words. Between the second and third sets of the volleyball game, all 1,200 students were invited to sail the planes onto the court and “let go” of the words.
Creekside student Sofia said her favorite part of the day was the volleyball game and how the players lined up at the end to greet all the kids.
For more information about the event, visit the team's website.