IRMO- In front of a packed gymnasium at Chapin High School on April 28, students from the Beaufort High School theater department performed their play “See Something, Say Something,” a skit that targets the message of bullying and how it can be prevented.
Chapin High Principal Dr. Akil Ross saw the performance at a Rotary Conference in March and knew this would be beneficial for his students.
“I was very impressed with their message regarding bullying,” Ross said. “We always talk about bullying in the sense of the bully and the victim, but we never really talk about the bystander and the power that someone has who sees bullying happen and does something to prevent it.”
The idea of a performance came to Beaufort High’s Drama Director LaRaine Fess after her son was bullied by an older student on a school bus. As part of the play, the students from Beaufort High portray the four types of bullying: physical, verbal, social and cyber.
“When I was growing up, bullying happened at school, but it was different,” Fess said. “It ended at the end of the day. Not today because of the devices we have access to. Bullying happens now 24/7.”
According to a national survey conducted at www.stopbullying.gov, 70% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools and 49% of children in grades 4-12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month.
“There are more bystanders than there are bullies and victims,” Fess said. “More people watch it than do it. If we can convince a victim to tell on a bully -- if we can convince a bystander to say stop, we can put an end to this. That is why we perform.”
District Five Director of Student Services Dr. Michael Harris says it is important for students to see the impact of what bullying can do to others, and what better way to shed light on it than to see it up close and personal with a performance.
“It is imperative in District Five that our schools are a safe haven for our students,” Harris said. “Our teachers desire for their classrooms to be safe and supportive learning environments, and our school administrators advocate for positive school climates. We believe that if we can reach our students and show them the effects of bullying, it can eventually be eliminated.”