A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

The Buddy Bench: Former pro baseball players team up to fight bullying in Erlanger-Elsmere schools

Former professional baseball players, Sean Casey and Tim Flannery, have teamed up through The Love Harder Project to support bullying prevention programs in the Erlanger-Elsmere School district with the Buddy Bench Project.

Casey was a Cincinnati Reds first baseman and Flannery a San Diego Padres utility infielder and former 3rd base coach of the 3-time World Champion, San Francisco Giants.

Sean Casey, retired Cincinnati Reds first basemen, turned sportscaster

The Love Harder Project, founded, 2014, supports bullying prevention programs and victims of violence throughout the country and has teamed up with former Cincinnati Reds first baseman, Sean Casey, to support bullying prevention programs in the Erlanger-Elsmere School system.

The Erlanger-Elsmere School District focuses on positive school expectations for students and adults, and the Buddy Benches will support their bullying prevention systems already in place.

Dr. Kathy Burkhardt, superintendent, explains, “Through the positive preventative programming and bullying prevention work we do in our schools, our students collaborate daily and demonstrate appreciation and respect for one another.

“Our children are watching all of us, and through the respectful and authentic relationships we have with our parents, our community, and within our schools, they are seeing wonderful examples of how we should all appreciate and respect our similarities as well as our differences. These benches are another shining example of that love, admiration, and appreciation!”

Each of the four elementary schools in the district, Howell, Lindemann, Arnett and Miles, will receive a bench, and make the Buddy Bench their own through students’ artwork reflecting their interpretation of what it means to “Love Harder.”

Amanda New, principal at Arnett Elementary, said, “In addition to academic priorities, we focus on cultivating relationships. We grow the whole child, and teach our children to love and respect one another. The bench will serve as one more piece to support our kids, and serve as a symbol of our mission to embrace our diversity and show kindness, respect and love to all.”

Featured photo: An example of a Buddy Bench.

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