Students at Orchard Elementary in Jackson recently had a school assembly they will never forget.
Bill Nitschke and Tyler Sparr, part of the Indianapolis-based Wonder Wheels BMX Stunt Team, performed several tricks on their bicycles as students watched in amazement. But Nitschke and Sparr do more in their performances than perform jaw-dropping feats. They use their platform to share positive messages with today's youths.
Midway through their performance in Jackson the two shared an anti-bullying message, a topic that hits home with Nitschke. He shared with the students his dealings with a bully in sixth grade while practicing riding tricks with his friends.
"He said we weren't any good and that we should quit," Nitschke said. "I thought the best thing I could do was ride away. We rode away, had fun on our bikes and when we came back later he was gone."
The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that during the 2008-2009 school year, 28 percent of students ages 12 to 18 said they were bullied at school. Other studies report that children who have been bullied are two to nine times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts.
Bullying is not a subject to be taken lightly. The bikers recognize this, and hopefully their message to students will help deter future bullying and better prepare those being bullied on how to deal with it appropriately -- without turning to suicide.
Thank you to the organizers for putting on the event and to the stunt bicyclists for using their talents in a positive way.