By Noemia Da Silva
& Kylie Guidi
Caption under picture:
Keith Deltano emphasizes “It’s time for the drama to stop!” He won the Teaching Excellence Award and was listed in the Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Outstanding Young Men of America. He was also awarded the National Impact Award for the impact he had on parents. See more about Deltano at www.DontBullyOnline.com (photo by Alexa Stoia)
Audience Reacts to “Labels Lie” Anti Bullying Assembly
Text form student’s “speaking bubbles”
“The assembly was interesting: it spoke to a lot of kids who needed to hear it.” – Anthony Casiano
“Seeing that he took something that used to hurt him and used it as a way to help others was really inspiring. He was helping other high school students that might be going through the same thing he did by telling his story.” – Sean Buel
“The anti bullying assembly made people realize that everybody is going through different things. You shouldn’t exclude people because they’re different.” – Jaime Pillion.
The overall bullying assembly was good. It was impactful because humor grabs the attention but the message he brings is what makes it great” – Mr. Clymer
“I liked his sense of humor.” – Brady De Angelis
“The most inspiring thing for me was that he managed to tell us the age old message, “Be nice to someone,” in a way that was entertaining to an assembly audience that has been told this same idea a hundred different times.” – Peter Depres
“The assembly was inspiring because it made me realize that everyone, no matter what their reputation is, has a story and may be hurting on the inside.” – Carrie Ann Callahan
Bullying. Racism. Prejudice. Gossip. These four words caught the attention of the assembly audience when former military police officer, public school teacher, private counselor and educational comedian, Keith Deltano, opened the anti bullying assembly in mid-October.
Deltano, who dubs his interactive assemblies as “serious comedy,” draws on his own background to reach out and share with youth of all ages. He told the audience that during his sophomore year in high school, he was nicknamed “Rock,” and even though he didn’t like it, he laughed along.
“Just because someone laughs along with something you say, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt,” Deltano told the crowd during the assembly.
Using this example as a springboard, Deltano drew applause as he encouraged individuals to embrace their own uniqueness in a culture where fitting in and normalcy are overrated.
“In American culture, heaven forbid if you don’t fit in, but I’ve got a message for you if you’re different,” he said during the assembly. “I don’t want you to fit. We have enough cookie cutter kids wearing the same things, singing the same songs, acting the same, doing the same things. I want you to be different. Let’s hear it for the different kids!”
Using rapid-fire speech and movement, Deltano structured his assembly to illustrate four types of bullying that occur in high schools: Physical, Verbal, Exclusion and Online.
He also addressed the more subversive dynamic of Girl Bullying: Guys might put you in the hospital, but mean girls put you in therapy,” said Deltano.
During the assembly, Deltano also emphasized how bullying occurs between the differences in social classes. “You get all wrapped up in clothing and appearance,” he said. “But just because your mom can afford to shop at the mall does not make you better than a kid whose mom cannot afford to shop at the mall.”
In a particularly humorous skit where he re-enacted the dynamic of his two young Children, Deltano demonstrated how bully-like behaviors can be fostered without either the victim or the bully realizing it.
His skit involved his daughter, age eleven, being protective over a stuffed animal, while his son, age four, enjoyed getting a reaction out f her by stealing it. Deltano explained once he realized his son was getting joy not from stealing the toy, but form the reaction, he was able to help his daughter stop reacting. In turn, his son stopped stealing her toy. The reaction, after all, is what bullies want, Deltano explained.
“But you can’t be letting them live in your head,” he said. “Don’t give them a reaction. It is time for the drama to stop!”