Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

David Rosado Story


Chesapeake Sheriff Office Lieutenant uses magic to prevent bullying

by Rob Lauer

David Rosado has been entertaining audiences with his magic shows for over 20 years.

David Rosado has been entertaining audiences with his magic shows for over 20 years.

Lieutenant David Rosado of the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office has a twofold mission: protect and serve; amaze and amuse.

The protecting and serving are obvious: in uniform, with his open friendly manner and dazzling smile, he is the epitome of the friendly neighborhood policeman that school kids have learned about for generations. The amazing and amusing aren’t as obvious until, with a sly grin, he opens his wallet and flames momentarily shoot out. “This money is burning up my wallet,” he quips. Then he’s pulling cards out of nowhere, performing magic tricks guaranteed to make the jaw of even the most seasoned cynic drop. And that’s only the beginning of the magic that he has up his sleeve.

“I like to say that my magic shows
are so much fun, they’re criminal.”

—Lt. David Rosado

“I like to say that my magic shows are so much fun, they’re criminal,” David declares.

While growing up, did the Brooklyn native dream of becoming a law enforcement officer or a magician?

“Neither one,” David replies with a laugh. “I didn’t encounter magic until 1984, when I was 19 years old and working my way through college. A salesman at work showed me a card trick, and I was so amazed that I asked him where I could learn to do tricks like that. He directed me to a small magic shop on the fourth floor of an old office building in Manhattan. I was so eager to learn that the guy there took advantage of me—sold me everything under the sun. I dabbled in magic for years and then, in 1996, I started working in clubs, restaurants and private parties.”

When he moved to Virginia in 1999, his magic career took off. “I’ve performed for tens of thousands of people during the 19 years that I’ve been in Hampton Roads,” he says. “I’ve done large-scale comedy/illusion shows on big stages, as well as assembly programs in school auditoriums. I’ve worked birthday parties for as young as a one-year-old, and others as old as 90. I’ve performed for non-profit organizations—like the Special Olympics, and the Boys and Girls Clubs. At annual city award dinners, I’ve served as ‘The Magical MC.’”

Over the years, he’s also incorporated his magic into leadership training seminars for businesses. But it is his work through the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office, employing magic to deal with bullying, that may be his most amazing feat yet.

Lieutenant Dave Rosado uses his magic to educate area students on how to prevent bullying.

Lieutenant Dave Rosado uses his magic to educate area students on how to prevent bullying.

“Several years ago, I watched a TV news story about a 14-year-old boy who had committed suicide because of the bullying he had experienced,” David reveals. “It honestly affected me, so I talked to Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan about developing an anti-bullying program that we could make available to area schools.  We only present the program if schools invite us. So far, we have been in every elementary school in Chesapeake, and to other schools across the area. At least 25,000 kids have seen the program, and the response from everyone—administrators and teachers, parents and guidance counselors—has been great. Yes, there is magic in the program, but it’s used to get a message across. We entertain to educate.”

“Every day, 160,000 kids
stay home from school
from fear of being bullied.”

—Lt. David Rosado

David’s message can be summed up in several catch phrases: “Be a buddy, not a bully.” “Include, don’t exclude.” “Don’t be a zero, be a hero.”

“When I was growing up, bullying was considered a rite of passage,” David concedes. “If kids were picked on, they were told to toughen up, to retaliate or to hit back. The victims were made to feel as if it was their fault that they were being picked on. That was bad enough. But now, bullying is a completely different animal. Social media magnifies the problem. Before, bullying was a local issue. Now, kids can spread rumors far and wide on online—and they can feel empowered to say terrible things about other kids because when they’re sitting behind that computer screen, they feel anonymous. Chesapeake Public Schools have zero tolerance for bullying, and that’s quickly becoming the norm for school systems across the country.”

“In our program, we explain how to stop bullying,” David continues. “We say to the kids: ‘When you see bullying, tell a responsible adult—such as a teacher or parent—and don’t give up until an older person intervenes.’ We encourage them to be a hero, not a zero; we explain that a zero is someone who hurts others, but a hero is someone who helps. Unlike a superhero, no cape is needed. You just need to care enough to make changes.”

According to David, the statistics on bullying are staggering. “Every day, 160,000 kids stay home from school from fear of being bullied,” he explains. “As parents, we have to pay attention if our children’s personalities suddenly change—if they start hiding in their room or lose interest in school work. We have to take action by asking them what is happening? In school, teachers need to do the same, and inform parents of what’s happening. Some kids feel they can’t get out of the situation because the bully says, ‘Don’t tell, or it’ll be worse.’ So, I say to the kids: ‘The bully doesn’t want you to tell anyone—but you have to anyway. By telling someone, you can stop being a victim and can become a hero who breaks the cycle of bullying.’ No one is too young or small to make a big change.”

Often children resort to bullying as a way to get the attention and recognition possibly missing from their lives due to family structure or parents having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. David encourages children to get recognition by helping others.

“Using magic, I can get these messages across to kids in ways that entertain and inspire,” David concludes. “I think God has given me a gift, and I’m grateful if I can make someone smile so that they walk away happy with a good memory of our time together—and a bit more determined to make the world a better place.”

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