Monday, November 17, 2008

U.S. Grant teens stage act of peace

At U.S. Grant, Oklahoma teens stage act of peace:
Drama students are taking stand against violence after gun scare
Published: November 17, 2008
By Dawn Marks

Nov. 17--Students at U.S. Grant High School this week will take a step toward violence prevention.

With the theme "Violence hurts all of us, but one small step can change the world," students will participate in activities throughout the week centered on the play "Bang! Bang! You're Dead."
Students had started working on the play before a student brought a loaded gun to the high school Sept. 22, prompting a lockdown and review of security procedures.

Teachers decided to continue with their plans for the play and use it to promote violence prevention, said Kathleen Kennedy, district spokeswoman.

''I was thinking about a way we could use this as a tool to educate our students about violence," said Stephanie Bowman, drama teacher. "It's one small step. This isn't going to cure everything but it does start a dialogue."

The public can see performances of the play Thursday and Friday at the school, 5016 S Pennsylvania Ave. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

Talking it out
Jackie McCaughtry, drama teacher, said providing activities and discouraging bullying and violence are important because some students may not have a strong support system to help them cope.

She said organizers will give students tips during the week to spread positive feelings through the school, like saying hello to students who are alone.

Students will have a peace summit with discussions led by cast members, gang task force members, counselors and teachers.

One day they will wear black to represent school violence victims.

Students will sell Peace-O-Grams during the week with proceeds going to the Oklahoma City Police Athletic League, a juvenile crime prevention program.

Senior Craig Musser, who is the play's lead actor, said he was bullied sometimes in junior high school, and he hopes the play and activities will help students.

''We're taking a stand against it," Musser said.

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