The Scary Guy gives a presentation Tuesday night to parents, kids and school staff at Austin High School. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

Students, parents get dose of Scary

Published 10:53am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Have you ever been called a rotten name? Have you called someone else a rotten name? Have you ever physically hurt someone (yes, siblings count)?

The Scary Guy asks those three questions wherever he goes. He asked about 150 ninth-graders those questions Monday morning. He did the same for more than 200 parents, children and community members Tuesday night at Knowlton Auditorium, the first of two community meetings Scary will have in town.

Scary knows how his audience will answer every time. Everyone in Knowlton Auditorium raised their hand for all three questions. Just like every ninth-grader in Christgau Hall Monday morning raised their hands. Everyone has said something nasty, heard something nasty said about them and has hurt someone.

Scary is spreading his peaceful message throughout Austin by working with Austin Public School students and staff.

“We show them how to change the flow of negative energy,” Scary said Tuesday night.

The Scary Guy signs a shirt for Emma Lenway after a presentation Tuesday night at Austin High School. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Doing that is a lot more complicated than it sounds. By asking the three questions, Scary gets his audience to focus on bullying as a problem that affects everyone, not just children.

“This thing that we deem negative or bullying, it’s not just a kid problem,” he told the audience.

Moreover, Scary tells students how they can solve issues by refusing to be negative. He encourages them to participate in his Seven Day Challenge, where students can’t say negative things about people for seven days and seven nights. They also have to hug 16 people per day and do other positive acts during their week-long ordeal.

It appears Austin residents are receptive to Scary’s message. Scary praised Austin as the first community to band together to deal with bullying and negativity.

“Never in my life … have I seen so many people in one community and one city pull together to make a difference,” Scary said Tuesday. “You’re the first city on the planet to make that difference.”

The city of Austin sanctioned Scary’s efforts Tuesday as Mayor Tom Stiehm proclaimed Oct. 31 – Nov. 11 to be Anti-Bullying Week. Stiehm praised Scary and the Community Against Bullying for taking a stand for the community. He had firsthand experience dealing with bullying when he was an investigator with the Austin Police Department. He told the crowd that the worst cases for him involved bullying.

“I never solved anything (to do with bullying),” Stiehm said. “Police can’t stop bullying. It has to be stopped here and at home.”

Scary will continue working with Austin students and staff through Nov. 11, spending at least one day at every school. He will spend next Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 8 and 9, at Ellis Middle School while a CNN news crew will document his work and conduct interviews throughout the community.

Though Scary will leave in less than two weeks, he said the work he does isn’t about him. It’s the community’s job to continue being positive and speaking out against bullying and negativity.

“I’m not here to change anyone,” he said. “I don’t have that power. This is an Austin program. You’re going to have to move it forward.”


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  • Jess

    AWESOME night it was!! GO C A B & Scary~!!

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  • Lebowski

    Looks like $40,000 not only bought us $cary Guy for 10 days but also a cheerleader too.

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  • Jess

    For this cause…….. ALWAYS and FOREVER!! : )

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  • mrkcc

    $40,000? Typical misinformed bs by someone who doesn’t know the facts.
    By the way, the taxpayers didn’t pay for him.

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    • Lebowski

      Then tell us all the total cost. The reported $20,000 price tag does not include the school district’s contribution, so that’s not the total either. It’s obvious that the true cost lies in between.

      School district funds are tax payer monies. The school district contributed funds to bring $cary Guy here. Who were you calling misinformed?

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  • concernedcitizen

    Regardless of the cost of bringing him here, it’s his message that is priceless! But since some want to focus on the money factor, perhaps those people can consider how much it costs for counseling for children and adults that are bullied in school and traumatized by it, the cost of transferring students to other schools that have to be paid out BY the sending school because that student is a problem they can’t handle, the cost taxpayers will pay for the children that grow up so angry because of bullying that they become criminals and end up in jail, and besides these costs, the mental damage that bullying does to a child is irreversible. They can’t just forget about it. It shapes who they are as an adult and how they live. By spending the money now to allow each student to hear Scary’s message, these children have an opportunity to stop being victims of other’s cruelty and adults listening now have an opportunity to learn how to help their children and themselves to change their ways of thinking and release the anger within themselves. Perhaps instead of focusing on the amount it costs to have him here, you should focus on the benefits that come from him being here. Every person that works to improve the lives of others is deserving of the money they make. He’s a great man with a great message! Keep it up Scary!

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  • cooper

    This guy is not saying anything that a good parent hasnt already said. So I want my 20,000 dollars for being a good father and teaching my kids the right way to handle things. What happens when this guy leaves? These kids will forget what they heard after a week, My point is that the adults in this community need to teach our kids not some guy that makes a living doing speeches, then leaving town with money that could have stayed in this community. That could have went to help the kids with the counsling.
    This man cannot take the place of a parent or an adult in this community.

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    • concernedcitizen

      I own my mind! I will not be infected by the words of others. I will realize that others who are negative have something wrong in their lives and don’t feel loved and cared for so they respond to life with this negativity and try to share it with others. I am a product of a broken home and grew up with anger and hatred toward everyone that treated me bad. I didn’t listen when others told me that I should be able to stop negativity from infecting me, until Scary shared his message with me! Now I understand it and can live it for the rest of my life! Thank you CAB and Austin, MN for bringing Scary here to change my life! I’m only one of many that have been AFFECTED by him! He’s Amazing! Thanks Scary!

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      • Jess

        : ) Glad Scary could help you so much! Now we take his message and move forward, and help others by following what we have learned!!

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  • cardinal22

    Cooper I would have to agree with most of what you said. Bullying has been in our society and schools since the beginning of time. Now I am not encouraging this or saying this is a good thing but it is a fact and we havnt been able to conquer it and never will. My take on this is that parents have stopped parenting in our society to the point where we are trying to have our children raised in school and not at home. The Scary guy is not giving us information that we don’t already know. This information should be directly taught to the parents not the kids. That would be the parents job to relay to there children. We are going about this backwards. But that is the way our society is going “backwards”. I am sorry this cannot be fixed by teachers or administrators no matter how hard they try or how hard they try to convince you. To make a funny the scary guy is actually bullying school districts for 20,000 and manipulating society to where it is failing. SMART DUDE.

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  • cooper

    I am not disagreeing with anyting that this guy says. All im trying to say is when are some of the adult in this city giong to step up and teach the kids.
    Cardinal you are right about parents that dont parent. You are also right about our society being backwards.
    Concernedcitzen, I to came from a broken home and I know all about the feelings of pain and hatred. You didnt need this guy to help you through your feelings. If you were not ready to deal with them you would have not listened to this guy. My point to you is that you were ready to listen and if he said something that helps you great. But you didnt need him to help you. He was in the right spot at the right time. I wish you luck in dealing with your demonds, because I still deal with those kinds of feelings everyday.

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  • anstchra

    Where was this guy 3 years ago? My daughter was bullied so bad when she was in Ellis and the school would not do anything, we even went to the police and still nothing. She dropped out of school because of this girl was threating her so much , maybe if Scary was here back then maybe she would of stayed in school.

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  • formeraustinian

    You folks are forgetting that bullying sometimes begins at home – it’s a learned behavior, so expecting parents to step up to the plate is, in some cases, asking for huge changes in their lives not to mention just recognizing that they bully!! I think it’s great it was recognized as an issue within the Community because of all the kids that are hurt by bullying, not to mention those that have committed suicide. Who can put a price tag on someone’s life? Words can hurt as much and sometimes more than sticks and stones!!

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    • Hootch

      The schools and the police need to be held accountable when this gets out of hand. . they aren’t effective. Sure the problem began at home but paying this guy 20 G’s to articulate what people already know is goofy. Kids need a conscience and building one really is the parent’s job, if that parent fails then the authorities must respond with protection and punishment. If it happens on school property possibly on camera or there are witnesses then it must be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately. People were bullied badly when I was in school and looking back I’m surprised no one ever got killed over it, the potential was always there. . .
      The good thing about this guy coming there was awareness, which sometimes leads to better solutions.

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