Why are Children’s Mercy and Sporting Kansas City doing this?
In 2016, we announced a long-term partnership with Sporting Kansas City with three primary goals:
- Improve access to pediatric-trained sports medicine
- Strengthen the community
- Protect youth athletes and educate parents and coaches
Together, we are stepping up to help strengthen the community by addressing one of the most significant social issues impacting children and teens: bullying.
Nationally, more than one out of every five students will be bullied this year*, so chances are this is happening to someone you know and care about. Students who are bullied report more physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, than other students. In some cases, bullying has led to devastating consequences, such as school shootings and even suicide.
Locally, the 2015 Children’s Mercy Community Health Needs Assessment mirrors the national statistics and reports from across the community reveal that bullying is a community-wide issue that must no longer be ignored or thought of as a rite of passage. Our hope is that through the Red Card campaign, the Kansas City community will increase awareness and inspire action.
What is the purpose of this campaign?
The primary purpose of the Red Card campaign is to build awareness and inspire people to “call it when they see it.” We’ll use soccer’s red card as a figurative visual tool to highlight instances of bullying in schools and encourage positive behavior.
What are the impacts of bullying?
According to the Pacer National Bullying Prevention Center, being bullied may impact a child physically, but it may also cause great emotional harm. Verbal and emotional bullying, like teasing and social exclusion, can harm a child’s sense of well-being, their confidence, and their self-esteem.
I’m a parent. What can I do to prevent bullying?
- Teach your kids to act with self-confidence. Confident and empathetic children are less likely to bully others, or be bullied.
- Help your child understand the different types of bullying and learn to recognize the signs of bullying in your child.
- Encourage involvement in activities your kids enjoy; kids involved in group activities develop more confidence, resiliency, a better sense of belonging and more meaningful relationships.
- Watch out for signs of cyberbullying – notable increase or decrease in use of devices; emotional responses to what’s happening on their device; hiding their screen; shutting down social media accounts and/or opening new ones.
If I witness bullying, should I intervene?
Intervene immediately and get another adult to help, if needed. Separate the kids involved and make sure everyone is safe. Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs. Stay calm and reassure the kids involved, including bystanders. Model respectful behavior when you intervene. When you do nothing, you send the message that bullying is acceptable. If you ignore or minimize the problem, victims will not believe that adults understand or care, or that they can help. (source: eyesonbullying.org and Anti-bullying Institute)
How can schools participate?
We are starting with a few pilot schools with which we have established partnerships: Turner High School and Kansas City, Kansas public schools. We will continue to refine the program in 2018-19, ensuring that it meets school goals and fits well within their current programs.
If you have a KC-area school or school district that has interest in being involved in the 2019-20 year, they can register their interest here.
Can my kids’ school take part in Red Card?
As we scale the campaign in 2018-19, we’ll be able to include more schools. If your school is interested, they can register here.
Can I get some of those player cards? I can hand them out at church or my kids’ school.
At this point, we have a limited number of player cards which will be used for events and activities specifically related to the Red Card program. If there are extras at the end of the year, we’ll likely be able to make them available to the community.
Why are the Kansas City, Kansas police involved?
We have established great relationships with the KCK and the KCMO police departments. They have community outreach officers who go to schools and patrol neighborhoods with kids who could likely suffer from being bullied. They will share the Red Card messages with the kids and help guide them to resources for additional help.