For Packers great LeRoy Butler, stopping bullying is a personal mission

The issue is very close to Butler who was a special needs child himself
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 4:48 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Action 2 News was first to alert you to a disturbing video of a student assaulting another student in class at Shawano Community Middle School. That video was shared online.

The video sparked outrage, with parents reach out to to us to claim bullying is a major problem at the school.

It also captured the attention of Pro Football and Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer LeRoy Butler, a longtime anti-bullying advocate, is speaking out about the issue, too. In an interview you’ll only see on Action 2 News, Butler talked about why bullying is a personal issue for him.

“You get your iPhone and say, ‘Let’s go film doing something negative to a special needs kid,’ like I was. I was a special needs kid in special education. Every day I got bullied,” Butler told us.

Butler spent most of his early childhood in a wheelchair or leg braces after surgeries to correct a condition that caused him to be pigeon-toed. He was the target of bullying.

He says the recent incident in Shawano deeply affects him because of his experience and his son, who has autism.

“My son has a lot of friends that protect him, but they’re not always around. So if you’re filming something negative, to me you’re just as guilty.”

Butler spent several years advocating for anti-bullying practices, visiting over 200 schools in the span of four years.

He often explains to students the difference between joking around with someone versus tormenting them.

His main message at those visits?

“We have to be leaders in our schools, not followers. But if you’re going to choose the right leaders, the right people to follow, choose your teachers and your parents.”

Butler encourages parents to have conversations with their children about bullying and for teachers and school staff to stay alert for warning signs that children might be getting bullied.

“I don’t want suicide. I do not want violence. I want you to have a great education, be able to eat where you want, go where you want, and not be assaulted.”