Hasbrouck Heights Middle School students got a special anti-bullying lesson from their upperclassmen Thursday.
Members of Erin Schneeweiss’ high school drama class put on a series of improv skits for the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students acting out scenarios of bullying and peer conflict.
The sketches gave the younger students the opportunity to be able to differentiate between the two by watching these scenarios in action. Between each sketch the middle school students discussed the actions they saw with Nicole Fried, school psychologist and anti-bullying coordinator.
Fried got the students thinking about what makes bullies do what they do.
“When someone is bullying, it really isn’t about the victim, it’s about the bully and his or her own issues,” explained Fried.
Students picked up on the motives behind the bully’s actions in the sketches. In some scenarios the portrayed bully’s actions stemmed from jealously, a need to feel superior or cool and wanting to get attention. Fried reminded students that there are healthy ways to make oneself feel better but do to so at someone else’s expense is wrong.
One sketch dealt with a frustrated male student who began to pick on a female classmate because she was getting chosen by the teacher to answer questions over him. His bullying stemmed from his own frustrations but Fried suggested there were other ways he could’ve dealt with it such as being satisfied with himself for knowing the answers even though he wasn’t called on by the teacher.
Another sketch dealt with two female friends who got into a conflict over both liking the same boy. In the end the two stopped fighting when they realized their friendship was more important than the boy they were fighting over. Students discussed with Fried how this scenario was not bullying as it dealt with two people who wanted to be part of the interaction and in the end they resolved their conflict.
Schneeweiss relayed that the drama class students wrote the improvs skits on their own, many which were based on situations they had experienced themselves or witnessed.
The program was one of the many activities being conducted during this annual Week of Respect in the district.