Gary Wittmann has seen firsthand the effects bullying has on kids.
The 64 years old Jasper man was a special education teacher at Forest Park Junior-High school for 33 years.
“the kids would come back to the room crying and would sit down and talk about, Wittmann said. “It didn’t matter what grade level it is, bullies are out there.”
Wittmann retired from teaching in 2007, the same school year he was given the 2007 Teacher of the Year Award from the Learning Disabilities Association of Indiana. Since retirement, he has dedicated much of his time to writing self-publishing children’s books that he says are3 based on his years and years of listening in the classroom. he’s been a professional storyteller for nearly 30 years.
His “Fifth Grade” series is based on kids understanding bullies. That series includes “Fifth Grade Monster School.” “Fifth Grade Dragon Master,” and “Fifth Grade Timothy Bottoms Rules.”
“This is the right time for all parents to have an open talk with their children regarding bullies as the school reopens,” Wittmann said, “The repercussions of bullying are very underrated, as it has the power to crush the emotional and enthusiasm of a child.”
Wittmann talked specifically about “Timothy Bottoms Rules” and how it includes ways to deal with bullying.
“As you can see Timothy Bottoms is a little bit different than everyone else. He stutters. He is short.” Wittmann said. “Everyone picked on him when he was in the fourth grade. He was hoping fifth grade would be different. But, about three days before school starts he finds out that his big brother is going off to serve in the Armed Service.”
In addition to bullying, Wittmann said another message in the book deals with how parents can prepare their child for a loved one going off to service.”