Oxon Hill group brings anti-bullying group to center stage -- Gazette.Net


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Years after an Oxon Hill student was harassed to the point where she attempted suicide, classmates are producing a play about bullying and underage drinking to end such acts.

“One Less Bully, One More Friend,” the school’s Student Government Association-affiliated group, formed after the November 2010 incident, and group members are leading “A Victim’s Whisper,” an all-student play they are performing today and Friday at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School in Fort Washington.

The production, created by Oxon Hill High School students, tells the story of Cory — a fictional high school student faced with a slew of bullying problems who resorts to drinking as an escape. The story divulges into the negative effects that exist when students are faced by bullies and is intended to serve as “an eye-opener” to students and parents alike, said sophomore Todd Jenkins, 14, the SGA secretary who plays Cory.

“It’s going to be a great show. There’s going to be a lot of great messages packed into the play,” Todd said.

Paulette Brown, the SGA sponsor at Oxon Hill, said bullying, drinking, drug use and other problems student face begin in places other than school, but students then carry their problems onto school grounds to further the issue and impact others negatively.

The play was produced by a group of 13 students, some members of the SGA and some who simply connected with the theme or have an interest in theater production.

“The title represents just that — a victim’s whisper,” said junior Meron Begashaw, 15, who plays Mrs. Jones, the main character’s mother. “The person being bullied feels that they are not important. (They feel) they are silenced.”

The Prince George’s South County Recreation and Prevention Council asked the students to produce a play targeting bullying after the “One Less Bully” group attended an anti-bullying conference in 2011. The group then worked on creating the play every other school day throughout most of 2012, members said.

“I really admire the amount of time they’ve put in. They’ve done a tremendous job,” Brown said.

Senior Breyona Davis, 17, the SGA’s vice president, said the “One Less Bully” group formed in 2010 and runs anti-bullying campaigns and conducts events and initiatives that make students more aware of what negative effects bullying can have on their peers.

“A Victim’s Whisper” is one of those initiatives and classmates involved in the production say it aims to get parents to think about how their children are raised and get students to think about their actions.

“We go to different classrooms and speak about the different types of bullying and how to stop it,” Breyona said.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased at Wise High School on the day of the performance, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday Dr. Henry A. Wise High School, 12650 Brooke Lane in Upper Marlboro.

There will be a roundtable discussion after the performances to talk about ways to prevent bullying, students said.

While put on by Oxon Hill students, the play is at Wise High School so the group can use its auditorium, which seats 980, Brown said.

“Hopefully it will be a packed house,” Todd said.

djgross@gazette.net