Durham, N.C. — According to the National Association of School Psychologists, as many as 30 percent of students in the United States are bullies or are their victims. A play in Durham is hoping to encourage middle school students to fight against bullying.
"The Bullying Stops Here," by playwright Angie Steele was performed Wednesday evening at RN Harris Elementary School at 1520 Cooper St.
In the production, character Warner D, played by 12-year-old Jac Larin of Cary, is bullied by his classmates. It is a role he can personally relate with.
"I have red hair so ... I am called Ginger a lot. I have learned to ignore it,” Larin said.
Steele, who is also a mother, said she wrote the play so students who are bullied would have a role model to draw strength from.
"He (Warner D) doesn't give up. He stands up and says, 'It is not nice, it is not right,'” Steele said.
School principal Barbara Parker said other students are often not as strong as the play's main character and suffer physically and emotionally from bullying.
"We notice that there is a change in their personality. Sometimes as drastic as a change in their grades,” Parker said.
Parker said she sees bullying in school hallways and that it often goes unreported out of fear of retribution from the bully.
"For the longest, people have said it was horse playing. But it is not, it is actually bullying,” she said.
The play is performed entirely by young people. Steele said she hopes to bring the production to schools around the Triangle.