10/30/2012 1:17:00 PM Bullying the focus of presentation at Hopi High by reknowned motivational speaker Mark Trombino advocates for respect, restraint and responsibilty
Motivational speaker Mark Trombino with Hopi High broadcast radio and journalism student Claryn “Mighty Mouse” Josytewa. Submitted photo
Stan Bindell The Observer
POLACCA, Ariz. - Mark Trombino, national motivational speaker and anti-bullying expert, captivated students at Hopi High School during a presentation Oct. 3, using humor to get his points across.
Trombino stands three feet, three inches, but his strong voice and sense of humor had most of the Hopi High students on the edge of their chairs - and laughing.
There are about 200 types of dwarfism. Trombino's dwarfism has required him to go through 18 surgeries. His size and physical problems have presented him with challenges, but it has also helped him travel the world.
Trombino has appeared in several movies, the most famous being "Snow White," but Arizonans may know him best for appearing in Arizona Lottery commercials.
He urged the students to learn and practice the three Rs: respect, restraint and responsibility. He explained that bullying includes teasing, physical abuse, verbal abuse and excluding others. He noted that some students use technology, like texting on mobile devices and computers, to bully others.
"Bullying causes permanent damage, so think about how you can be involved," he said.
Trombino said bullying often comes from those involved in drugs and alcohol.
Trombino faced his own bullying issues in school, but he has also faced some hard times as an adult. Seven years ago, his wife was in a head-on car accident. At first, she was paralyzed. Five months later she died. He was left with a one-year-old and dealt with depression. He thought about taking his own life, but eventually decided he would rather be better than bitter. A couple years ago, he remarried.
Trombino said there are three people involved in bullying: The bully, the victim and the bystander. Victims need to report it and bystanders need to take action.
He said if someone is being bullied they should:
First, ignore the bully;
second, stay in a group;
third, cool down, assert yourself, look the person in the eye and mean what you say; and
fourth, tell a friend or a trusted adult.
According to Trombino, Arizona has an anti-bullying law that demands that schools take some action against a bully once a bullying incident is reported. If a student is bullied on Facebook, the victim should save the correspondence and report it, but not respond.
"Everyone should feel safe. Nobody should feel bad about themselves," he said.
Trombino, 42, said he doesn't like to be called by the slang term "midget." Little person is acceptable and Mr. Trombino is best. He said to know what little people go through students could try walking on their knees all day.
Trombino's program was sponsored by the Hopi Tribe's Office of Special Needs. For more information about Trombino, go to www.motivationalsmalltalk.com.