School Updates Bullying Policy
As the skit went on, Malcolm would ‘play pranks’ like pushing PJ into Natalie, pinching PJ’s pressure points and stealing PJ’s homework. It got to the point where PJ was afraid to go to school and spent an entire day at the nurses office. Eventually, he cracks, and tells Natalie what’s going on hoping she can help. She shares a story about when she was bullied online by a different girl at school, and then encourages him to tell a teacher about his problems.
At first, telling the teacher causes more problems. Malcolm gets in trouble and rumors swirl around the imaginary school he is going to beat PJ up. Natalie is around when Malcolm corner’s PJ and stands up for him. “You’re not funny and you’re acting like a jerk,” she tells him. After a little more arguing, Malcolm walks away. No punches are thrown and things are looking up for PJ.
The play ends there, and the actors then asked the kids if they recognized the types of behavior portrayed on stage. More than two thirds of the hands went up. Later on in the presentation, the actors asked the audience if they had ever been bullied. The majority of students raised their hands. Every student raised their hand when asked if they had seen bullying in school, but only a handful raised their hands when asked if they had ever bullied anyone. “We hope we can help you learn to solve problems in your own school in a safe and healthy manner,” said Stacey Fisher, who played Natalie.
Malcolm was played by Casey Preston and PJ was played by Tim Hoover. The trio then asked students questions about what bullying might look like and what is the difference between bullying and teasing. “Teasing happens like once,” said one kid. “Bullying is repetitive.” The group also talked about how bullying can be physical and often happens between people who don’t have equal standing. “If a friend made you feel bad, they would say sorry and mean it,” said Ms. Fisher.
The actors stressed the violence is never the answer when it comes to bullying, as it can cause more problems. They also said that bystanders have a lot of power in solving bullying. The biggest thing they said to do was not laugh if they see someone being bullied. “That makes them think you think they’re really great and agree with what they’re saying,” said Ms. Fisher. They also touched on the consequences of bullying, particularly cyber bullying, in the long term impacts it can have on future endeavors like applying for college.
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