Flushing school combats bullying through martial arts


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photos by Chris Bumbaca
THE COURIER/Photos by Chris Bumbaca

The Veritas Academy in Flushing is using taekwondo to fight bullying.

CHRIS BUMBACA

As schools nationwide implement anti-bullying tactics, the Veritas Academy in Flushing is combating bullying in an innovative and unique way.

While most schools lecture their students about bullying, the Veritas Academy has started a new way to repel bullying in school: taekwondo.

A moving-up ceremony was held Monday afternoon in the school’s auditorium for students who participated in a Korean elective class, in which taekwondo was held three times a week after school as a supplement to the class. Most students graduated from a yellow belt to an orange belt, while a handful ascended from a white belt to a yellow belt.

The class emphasized Korean heritage and tradition, and as much as the presentation was part of the anti-bullying campaign, it was also a celebration of Korean culture.

The ceremony included a showcase of an early childhood bullying-prevention performing arts program performed by the Korean Traditional Dance and Music Team. The musicians and dancers taught kids about the signs of bullying through an engaging performance filled with music and emotion. The dance, integrated with taekwondo moves, told a story about a girl being bullied by her peers and how she was able to overcome the obstacle through self-fortitude and the help of others.

“If students are educated and feel good about themselves and have self-esteem they won’t feel the need to bully,” founding principal Cheryl Quatrano said. “They’ll know what to do about it and help other students that are being bullied.”

Aside from the self-defense aspect of taekwondo, there is a large mental facet of the art. Regina Im, the executive director of “Korea Taekwondo,” the taekwondo school that taught the program at Veritas, stressed the importance of self-change to her students and the crowd.

She asked the children questions that correlated with the five main principles of taekwondo: respect, humility, perseverance, self-control and honesty, which are all traits essential in the battle against bullying.

“Are we able to change others?” Im asked. “Are we able to change ourselves?”

 

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