Scarborough Evening News:
A 20-stone American man whose face is emblazoned with tattoos and peppered with piercings would not be most people’s choice to talk to schoolchildren about respect and self-esteem. But The Scary Guy – which is legally his real name – has been called in by Pindar High School to do exactly that.
What’s more, in just one day the motivational speaker has not only got students and staff to sign a contract to promise they’ll say nothing negative about each other for the next week, but he’s also got the school’s most challenging children hugging each other as they walk through the corridors.
Headteacher, Hugh Bellamy said: “His visit was absolutely fantastic. It was one of those defining moments in life for a lot of our students and most of the staff too.” “He is very, very engaging. His wife started the session by playing the harp, none of the children had seen him and they thought she was going to be running the whole session.” “She then introduced her husband and when he came into the hall there were gasps of surprise and amazement. Very slowly and deliberately he poured himself some water with his back to the audience and they started chatting among themselves.”
“Then he turned around and hit them with his stare and there was absolute silence – you could hear a pin drop.”
The Scary Guy’s message is pretty straightforward. He wants young people to put prejudice and intolerance aside and show love and acceptance to each other. It might sound all a bit happy-clappy for the fearsome figure whose teeth are capped with gold crowns, but Mr. Bellamy says his attention-grabbing image is what helps hammer home his positive ideals.
“We have been on a journey from being a school where behaviour was out of control to a place where it is now controlled,” he said. “But we now want to get to the point where the students are controlling their own behaviour. We were really looking for somebody to be a figurehead to launch this, we came across some information on Scary and he was doing just what we wanted.”
The Scary Guy worked as a tattoo artist in Tucson, Arizona, but his life was changed forever when he saw an advert in his local newspaper by a rival tattoo artist. It said: “Are you tired of dealing with scary guys with war paint facial tattoos?” His immediate reaction was to question why he was being picked on and to try to get revenge on the person who placed the ad, but after a little soul-searching, he realized he was no better than his rival and decided to change his life by preaching about positive behaviour to young people. Since then he claims to have worked with more than five million people all over the world.
His visit to Pindar High School had such an effect that Mr. Bellamy has invited him back for a full week in September to work with more students and parents.
He said; “It is, quite simply, the most important thing I have done since I have been here.”