LeRoy Butler, former strong safety for the Green Bay Packers, was recently in Darlington. Butler was at the Talmer Bank and Trust from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12.
At 6:30 p.m. Butler spoke on overcoming bullying and his own experiences as a child. He also discussed his “Be a buddy, not a bully” campaign against bullying, which is a program in which Butler has traveled to schools and churches throughout Wisconsin to sit down with people who are recipients of bullying tactics and those that have performed behaviors of a bullying nature.
His approach has been to bring awareness to the problem, to have an open environment for these individuals to face each other in a non-confrontational environment and to find resolution that is positive moving forward.
Through this approach, Butler meets with the students, faculty, parents and community in a “game show” atmosphere that allows the students to have a voice and figure out this growing social problem.
The campaign will develop a $5,000.00 scholarship fund for each school that is chosen to participate.
Butler also hopes this will help the parents, professionals and the faculty expose those students or community members, more promptly, who suffer in silence through depression, self mutilation or harming of oneself, and through non-verbal bullying.
During his speech in Darlington, Butler explained how he grew up in the crime infested and poverty stricken inner city of Jacksonville, Florida. Butler was born extremely pigeon-toed and as a result of that spent much of his early childhood in a wheelchair and leg braces.
Because of this, Butler explained that he was the victim of bullying as well, but that his mother told him that bullies only have the power over you that you give them and if you ignore them, they’ll eventually stop.
Butler took his mother’s advice and started to simply ignored the three boys that waited for him to get off the bus every day in order to bully him and slowly the number of bullies dropped from three to two, then one and then eventually there were none.
Butler then explained that he started the “Be a buddy, not a bully” program in order to get kids, both bullies and their victims, together in order to learn things about each other and communicate about the problem of bullying themselves.
After his talk Butler took questions from the crowd and when asked by a little girl what it was like to play with Brett Favre, Butler answered, “He enjoyed it very much,” receiving laughs from the large crowd in attendance. “Remember,” Butler added humorously, “ I was in Green Bay first.”
Butler played his entire career with the Packers from 1990-2001.
After the question and answer period, Butler then signed autographs and spoke with a long line of people before taking his leave of Darlington.