Having been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, Samwise Holmes’s high school years were characterised by relentless bullying, constant feelings of isolation and even having his head flushed down a toilet.
But being subjected to such extensive and cruel bullying didn’t defeat him. With the help of his partner Cynthia Guthrie, who was regularly bullied at school and experienced severe anxiety and depression, Sam has established a program to tackle the issue of bullying in an active and engaging way.
Called Backflips Against Bullying, the program uses acrobatics and parkour (a sport involving obstacles, commando rolls and efficient ways to get from A to B) to engage K-12 students before getting them to understand the issue of bullying on a deeper level.
The program has been successful, having been used in 150 schools in NSW already, and there are plans afoot for national expansion.
The Backflips Against Bullying programming supports the the anti-bullying curriculum developed by the NSW Department of Education and is supported by psychological experts in the field. Show one is devoted to schoolyard bullying, while show two addressees bullying in the cyber sphere.
Sam spoke to Education Review about the program and its importance in helping schools to tackle bullying.Do you have an idea for a story?
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