Chris McBrien, known as "The Magic Storyteller," used humor, puppets and ventriloquism Thursday to present his national "Team Bully Free" program to students at Washington Elementary School in Elgin.
McBrien made sure the kids knew what bullying was and its various forms, asking the students questions about it that required a yes or no answer.
Despite the topic, McBrien kept the mood upbeat and had the kids laughing from start to finish and interacting frequently during the hourlong presentation. He often interjected personal stories of being bullied as a kid and passed along the advice he was given by his grandparents and teachers on how to deal with bullies.
McBrien and a dragon puppet named Lucky taught kids "Respect is a two-way street" and "When people don't respect us, we have rules that protect us."
McBrien teamed with Sid the Great (a white shark) and taught kids not to judge people on their looks but "get to know their hearts." A bully might be lashing out to others because the bully has been the victim of bullying. About 40 parents also attended the program.
Assistant Principal Kim Rakowski said McBrien tailored part of the presentation for Washington Elementary to help address certain topics school officials wanted to teach the kids such as advocating for themselves, to stand up for themselves against bullies and to not be afraid to tell a teacher or parent to help in a bullying situation.
For more on McBrien, of Lisle, visit magicstoryteller.biz.