Lehighton educators are taking a closer look at bullying and how it affects students.
To reinforce class discussions, Box Out Productions brought their lively anti-bully program to students at the Lehighton Area Middle School on Tuesday. The program showed how bullying affects students and then gave them tools on how to stop it.
Jeremy Rubenstein and Ryan Nelson, who played the characters Tom and Jerry, shared real tips on preventing the bullying problem, which has been going on in schools for generations. Their message was delivered in a humorous way, but it held the attention of the students.
"You have to let someone know you are having a problem," said Rubenstein, who wrote the Box Out program because he wanted to empower students. "The students need to know how to try to stop bullying and this program gives them the power to change their school and their community.
The power of telling was vividly portrayed.
"Telling takes courage. It is something you can't control, but you are not alone if you are being bullied. The more you know, the more you have the power to stop bullying," said Nelson.
They noted that a bully is a person who feels the need to be strong by picking on someone less strong – again and again.
The duo used a large box on stage to portray an inanimate object that was being bullied.
Students also learned that other people's feelings are hurt when they are bullied and that bullies themseleves need help with their problem.
Being excluded is also a form of bullying, students were told.
"Peer pressure is bullying," said Rubenstein. "It is when you make fun of someone, how they look, spread gossip or rumors. It is social pressure you do not want to do."
He also talked about cyber bullying, which can make others feel upset or hurt.
"Cyber bullying is when you use an electronic devise to hurt someone else's feelings," said Rubenstein.
The pair listed four rules against bullying: Don't bully other people, (2) help others who are being bullied, (3) include others who are being excluded, (4) if you see someone who is being bullied, tell an adult.
"No students should be afraid to go to school," said Rubenstein. "We want to make changes in the classroom that can effect changes in the community."