CENTERVILLE – At times it was painful to hear the words of criticism, of anger, of violence, of name-calling, of bullying. In performances before elementary students in nine Davis County schools, Latoya Rhodes and Tyson Baker of Plan B Theatre dramatized actual experiences of students who had been bullied in Davis and Salt Lake counties.
If you listened closely, you could hear not only the cutting words, but the crucial messages: Tell an adult when you witness bullying. Know it hurts if you say ugly words to others. Understand that sometimes the one bullying needs a friend. Support friends and others in need. Respect differences.
“The most important thing is recognizing our unique differences and having pride in that, having self esteem,” said Rhodes after a recent performance at Centerville Elementary.
She and Baker wore T-shirts that read, “Different is Amazing.”
“Our stories show kids the consequences of their actions,” said Baker. “We’re trying to give kids more perspective.”
Kids who are bullies are five times as likely to become adult criminals, according to information compiled by the Davis School District for training purposes.
They are also more likely to be involved in fights, vandalism, theft and truancy.
Preventing bullying, on the other hand, lowers rates of those anti-social behaviors, according to studies by Stan Davis referenced at stopbullyingnow.com.
Information compiled also indicated that targets of bullying are more likely to be depressed, feel fear or shame, have low self-esteem or feel unattractive.
The presentation suggested district leaders teach students to be aware and to report bullying. Interventions should take place where necessary.
“Youth who feel safe can learn,” it said.