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Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2012

Anti-bullying play coming to Fort Benning schools

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Is there ever a time when bullying is OK? No, not really, but Fort Benning elementary school students will explore the issue Sept. 18-20 at various times and locations through a Family Theatre production of the play, Bully Goats Griff.

Denise Stephens, Fort Benning’s suicide prevention program manager, said bringing the play to Fort Benning was a way to open a discussion with students about bullying during Suicide Prevention Month.

“I think (the play is) something everyone can relate to because it’s the story that we all know ... and how sometimes who we think is going to be the bad guy in the story doesn’t always end up being the bad guy in the story,” she said. “Bullying isn’t necessarily based on size — it’s based on attitude. The youngest billy goat learns you can’t treat people unkindly.”

The play will combine a learning experience with humor, Stephens said.

Based on the original fairy tale Billy Goats Gruff, it illustrates the destructiveness of bullying, said Leslie Cardwell, Family Theatre director.

Some of the actors are around t he same age as the audience, Stephens said, so the students will be able to relate to them.

After the play, there will be a discussion session. The actors will answer questions about the play and their experiences.

Because of instances of bullying in school, Cardwell said, students should learn to not tolerate it.

“I think it’s important to let kids know that it’s not OK,” she said.

Family Theatre is a local community theater that accepts actors of all ages and acting levels, and focuses on family-friendly entertainment, Cardwell said.

Stephens advises children who are experiencing bullying to tell their parents, teacher or counselor. The suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-TALK can also help children.

The play is for Fort Benning elementary school children and their Family members. Home-schooled Families living on post who are interested in attending should coordinate with Stephens at 706-545-5441.

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