‘Don’t Be a Monster’: campaign uses Frankenstein to teach kids about bullying

SAN ANTONIO – Bullying is a problem that students face across the country in schools, on their devices and on social media.

What started as a local effort in the Alamo City to prevent bullies has now grown to 22 cities. The “Don’t Be a Monster” anti-bullying campaign has a unique approach; it uses Frankenstein, and the Halloween season, to teach kids about the dangers of bullying.

“In kindergarten, on the bus, I was being bullied by someone pushing my head against the window. We had assigned seats and I couldn’t get away,” 11-year-old Logan Burns said.

Burns is one of the hundreds of thousands of kids across the country who has encountered bullying. It’s a problem organizations such as “Don’t Be a Monster” have been working to prevent. “Don’t Be a Monster” started in San Antonio as a partnership with the 13th Floor seven years ago and has grown fast.

“The presentation opens with a video of Frank being bullied in his school. His classmates in this video are very harsh. And so really, I think, it allows the children to identify with Frank almost as a peer,” presenter Kiera Henderson said.

According to stopbullying.gov, one in three students in the United States say they have been bullied at school. “Some maybe have engaged in bullying behaviors. But the most important thing is, they can make positive choices. They can stand up for their peers who have been bullied and who are experiencing this and really make a positive impact in their lives,” Henderson said.

But with kids taking to social media and online gaming more and more, it adds a new platform for any negative, mean, or hurtful content. “There are more things that can be done, because with the onset of cyberbullying and in other areas where kids are really being picked on and targeted, we need more support from their peers as well as from adults in their lives,” Henderson said.

The “Don’t Be a Monster” presentation covers everything from physical bullying to even telling students about David’s Law.

And there’s a message the organization wants every student to walk away with: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind,” Henderson said.