Teacher pulls no punches with anti-bullying rap
Posted September 13, 2013
Lumberton, N.C. — Years before Glenn Sutton wore a blazer to work at Lumberton High School and oozed self-confidence, he considered himself fat, ugly and stupid.
Sutton said he believed that because it came from Chuck, a schoolyard bully who often beat him up in front of cheering crowds of students at his Washington, D.C., junior high school.
"The more they cheered him on, the harder he hit, and this went on and on," he said Friday.
A quarter-century later, the 44-year-old teacher tried to reach out to students in a similar situation, composing a six-word rap that told of his torment at the hands of Chuck.
"Boom, Aah! What? Hit 'em again!" was the basic sequence of events that occurred every time Chuck beat him up, Sutton said.
"I said, 'Well, my audience are youth, maybe I can rap.' But I couldn't rap," he said.
Still, the rap, which repeats the six words over and over, has become a sensation among his students and others who have seen a video of it online.
"I tell my story, and by finding out my story, it’s the same story the other kids have," he said. "I get so many kids – man, they hug me. You see there's a connection."
He visits different schools to speak out about bullying and even performs at Friday night football games.
"Is it worse now? Much worse, much worse. Because kids now, they have the Internet," he said.
A 12-year-old Florida girl committed suicide this week after enduring online bullying for almost a year, authorities said.
In North Carolina, cyber-bullying cases jumped 69 percent this year, to 449 from 265 during the 2011-12 school year, according to the state Department of Public Instruction. Meanwhile, physical bullying declined slightly, from 841 cases in 2011-12 to 822 cases.
Sutton tells students to keep their eyes open and speak up to stop bullying.
"Your greatest weapon is not your hands, but your mouth. You've got to say something," he said. "For a bystander to sit there and watch and not do anything, they’re just as responsible."
Teachers need to act as well and provide support for students.
"All you need is some committed people," he said.
As far as Lumberton High, Sutton maintains there is no bullying on campus. "If there is, I shouldn't be there," he said.