Theatre group uses performances to fight bullying

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa According to the most recent statistics from the National Bullying Prevention Center, one in four kids say they’ve experienced bullying. CLIMB theatre group from St. Paul Minnesota aims to change that statistic.

CLIMB theatre group performs an anti-bullying message for Lasalle Elementary School on Monday, December 7, 2015.

The group stopped at Lasalle Elementary School on Monday afternoon to perform a play about anti-bullying. The play included all types of bullying — ranging from physical to verbal to cyber bullying.

The play followed the sister of a girl who committed suicide after being bullied in middle school. She interviewed her sister’s classmates about their time in middle school, and many said they regretted the way they treated her or how they stood by while it was happening.

“People might not show who they really are or what they really think ... And they could be really hurt on the inside when on the outside they’re all smiles,” Eighth-grader Hannah Denman said after watching the play.

The performers emphasized the power of bystanders in situations.

“There’s power in numbers and ‘popular kids’ do have power [to stand up for others],” Resa Schier, one of the actresses, said.

She emphasized the importance of helping kids understand bullying early on.

“I’d say in this age group it’s especially important to bring in outsiders to teach this because they become a little bit more aware of it--- you know hearing it from someone else especially that’s maybe a little bit closer to their age group,” she said. “Middle school you’re kind of becoming who you’re going to be so it’s a confusing time for everybody and that’s kind of why bullying happens at that age anyways.”

Students from Lasalle said seeing the play impacted the way they viewed bullying.

“We know it happens a lot but to actually witness it is a lot different than just hearing about it,” Eighth-grader Ryan Vondracek said.” It’s like it hit us harder than it would actually happen if we just heard about it.”