Envision a day when a student stands in front of their peers and apologizes for being a bully. This is a reality for one student at Davison High School, and a possibility for schools across the nation. This young man had the motivation to do so because of The Bullycide Project, a theatre project that is inspired by the book Bullycide in America, written by mothers who have lost a child to suicide caused by excessive bullying.
A friend of mine recently went to watch a showing of The Bullycide Project, after listening to my friend speak about the project (and doing a little research on my own) I realized what a thought provoking piece of theatre this is. As my friend described the performance to me I realized the emotion that it conveyed in him, and the majority of the people that watched with him, with many leaving the theatre with tears streaming down their cheeks. It is this emotion that gives The Bullycide Project the power to change lives.
With 20% of public schools reporting bullying occurring among students on a daily or weekly basis (CDC, 2011) and as many as 160,000 students skipping school each day because of fear of their peers (Coy, 2011), it is time our nation really did something about bullying. Currently, society sees bullying as transient and inconsequential (Coy, 2011), but it isn’t. Both bullies and their victims are presented with negative consequences in the short and long term. Unfortunately, some of these victims turn to suicide, like the students represented in The Bullycide Project.
Thats right, The Bullycide Project tells the story of real lives. Too often we hear statistics or news stories about bullying leading to suicide among young people, we are saddened for a day or two but then we go about our business as if nothing ever happened, because it didn’t happen near us or we don’t truly feel a connect with the victims and their families. However, the actors who depict the stories of the victims in The Bullycide Project interview these people’s family, they go through photo albums together, they get a picture of what it was really like to live in their shoes, and then, when the research is done, they tell the story of the victim’s life and what made things so bad that suicide seemed like the only option.
Throughout the numerous reviews I’ve read on The Bullycide Project, one thing is evident, it connects with its audiences and brings them together toward a common cause. I believe The Bullycide Project has the power to make the missing connection that will last longer than a day or two; it has the power to connect with individuals, to give people the motivation to step into action, to make a change, like it did for the young man who stepped in front of his peers at Davison High School to apologize for being a bully.
Centers for Disease Control (2011). Understanding Bullying. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention.
Coy, D.R. (2001). Bullying. ERIC Digest, ED459405, 1-7.