Kids learn how to combat bullying

University of Montevallo student Madison Jones, who was portraying a bully during a skit at Meadow View Elementary School Dec. 8, reacts as she is confronted by another UM student portraying a school principal. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Third-grade students got a real-world look at ways to identify and combat bullying at their school Dec. 8, as several groups of University of Montevallo students performed anti-bullying skits in Meadow View Elementary School auditorium.

During the performances, UM students in Dr. Elizabeth Thrower’s class presented several realistic bullying scenarios and taught the third-graders how to best handle them.

“I reached out to Dr. Thrower and asked if they wanted to form an alliance between our school and the university,” said MVES Visual Arts Director Jesse Cunningham. “We wanted them to come and address bullying and ethics on an elementary school level.

“We are trying to show the students what choices they have when they are dealing with bullying,” he added. “Sometimes they don’t know what choices they have.”

One skit portrayed a bully attempting to destroy another student’s class project on a school bus. Once the students notified the bus driver, the bully was sent to the principal’s office, and eventually apologized to the bullying victim and formed a friendship.

Three more skits involved groups of students ridiculing other students’ clothing and status at the school. Once the bullying victims notified their teachers, the adults stepped in to put a stop to the hurtful words.

The fifth skit presented several scenarios and challenged students to shout “stop” when they spotted bullying occurring.

Throughout the program, the UM students encouraged the MVES third-graders to always notify a teacher, parent or trusted adult whenever they spot bullying. The skits also taught the kids to demand respect and to never bully back.

“All the skits required the (UM) students to adopt strategies to combat bullying,” Thrower said. “I think this benefits everyone.”