MLB adding new teams to Shred Hate anti-bullying campaign

xxxxxxx Courtesy of Berment Photography

Major League Baseball and ESPN announced Wednesday that five franchises are joining the bullying prevention initiative Shred Hate for the 2018-2019 school year. It's a significant expansion of the number of teams ready to work with the nonprofit No Bully to eradicate bullying on campuses and online. The Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers are joining the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and Washington Nationals in the initiative, bringing baseball's total to nine teams.

In a study by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Education, nearly one in four students -- more than 10 million total -- report being bullied each year in the United States. The clubs are investing in their communities to support a program that has already had an impact, reducing bullying by 90 percent in the schools that have adopted Shred Hate. The program strives to put an end to bullying in schools by encouraging youth to choose kindness. Shred Hate was launched in January 2017 at X Games Aspen. Nearly 30,000 students have already been impacted by Shred Hate.

Through this program, No Bully, a nonprofit that trains schools on how to activate students' compassion to eradicate bullying and cyberbullying, will work directly with local school districts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Dallas while continuing its work with schools in Colorado and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Nearly 60,000 students should benefit from the program's lessons in the next academic year. The lessons, available for download at www.MLB.com/ShredHate, are designed to last approximately 20 to 30 minutes each and are complimentary to the No Bully System in-school curriculum.

MLB plans to use Shred Hate throughout its RBI programs nationwide as well as through its MLB Youth Academy network in multiple cities throughout the United States. ESPN will join MLB to work with No Bully on its methodology and will support the initiative through various multimedia platforms and other promotional activities, including public service announcements featuring major league players.

Additionally, MLB will host a social media-driven Shred Hate activation at the upcoming MLB Little League Classic presented by GEICO in Williamsport, Pa. The activation, which will be located at MLB's Play Ball Park at the Little League International Complex, is designed to raise awareness about bullying and the Shred Hate initiative among the thousands of kids and parents attending the 2018 Little League World Series.

"Shred Hate is stopping bullying at unprecedented rates," said Kevin Martinez, ESPN vice president of corporate citizenship. "We're excited to expand on this success and bring the program into more schools while raising awareness on this critical issue using the incredible reach and platforms of MLB, its clubs and X Games."

Billy Bean, MLB vice president and special assistant to the commissioner, said, "Shred Hate has been an extraordinary opportunity for baseball to use our considerable platform and positively influence the lives of young people where our teams play. The courageous stories shared by some of the students participating in the Shred Hate program, and who have been affected by this epidemic, inspire us to multiply our efforts."

Through Shred Hate, schools and youth-focused programs utilize the "No Bully System," a non-disciplinary, innovative model that guides K-12 school leaders, teachers and youth sports administrators through an integrated series of leadership coaching sessions, teacher trainings and parent workshops to create and sustain a bully-free culture for the long-term. The system provides an alternative to suspension or discipline, promoting an environment that revolves around cooperation and respect to ensure compliance with state and federal anti-bullying laws.