I believe that staging a drama such as "Bang, Bang You're Dead" will do much to facilitate an open acknowledgment of bullying. As drama teacher Tyrone Sorrentino points out, the play draws attention to a statistic that school violence has increased 82 percent in the past five years.
Even when a victim does not resort to violence against his or her peers, the consequences can still be devastating; bullying is a documented factor in many young people's suicides and has also been identified as a contributor to Complex PTSD.
I especially appreciate the statement by cast member Andres Hernandez, that name calling and teasing do go on. One of the worst consequences of bullying that I have lately observed is a refusal by some individuals to believe that a victim was abused and that if something happened it was the victim's responsibility to somehow correct or prevent.
Hernandez's first-hand observation, in my hometown newspaper, make it much more difficult to dismiss a victim's tale of abuse.
I hope that members of the Calistoga schools community will respond to this opportunity for open dialogue about bullying. I realize that many alumni would prefer to believe that CHS students were and are "better" than that -- but we must be willing to take an objective look at what has happened and what is continuing to occur within our local schools.
Class of 1986, Calistoga Junior/Senior High School
Submitted on April 2, 2009 to the Weekly Calistogan