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Play gives middle school a lesson in curbing anger

September 20, 2000

Play gives middle school a lesson in curbing anger



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

The GameWILLIAMSPORT - Springfield Middle School students got a lesson in violence prevention Wednesday morning when a four-member traveling theater group acted out ways to control anger.

Bridgework Theater of Washington D.C., did two performances of "The Game," a play that teaches students how to manage anger by "watching, waiting and working."

The play centers around Shredder, a student who gets bullied by another classmate, Mike, when they both compete for a spot on the basketball team. Shredder's cousin Tami is dumped and then teased by her best friend, Nakia, because she feels neglected by Tami.

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Mike and Shredder almost come to blows and Tami and Nakia have a clash of words, but the four eventually work out their problems by talking about them and coming up with solutions.

The group stressed that helpful ways of dealing with anger are to watch for situations that can trigger anger, wait to calm down by taking a time-out instead of lashing out and to work the problem out by identifying its source and coming up with solutions.

"It was a great experience," said eighth-grader Caitlin Witman.

Caitlin, along with sixth-grader Jeffrey Hosby, had short roles in the play.

"'The Game' is both educational and entertaining," said Don Yost, Bridgework Theater's playwright and founder. "All of our plays deal with the tough, urgent problems that children face."

As a way to promote school safety, the Washington County Board of Education decided to supply students this year with identification cards containing safety hotline numbers.

The Youth Crisis Hotline, 1-800-422-0009, serves as an intervention resource for young people struggling with problems including suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, physical and sexual abuse, loneliness, depression and relationship difficulties.

Students can use the Safe Schools Tip Hotline, 1-877-636-6332, to report rumors of violence, threats, students with weapons or anything else that can be harmful to students.

Last year, as of March 1, 2000, two Washington County students were suspended for bringing guns to school, 17 were suspended for having other weapons, 19 for physically attacking a teacher or staff member, 80 for attacks on other students, 113 for fighting, four for having explosives, three for making false alarms or bomb threats, 37 for verbally or physically threatening a teacher or staff member and 35 for verbally or physically threatening another student.

Each year, Bridgework's actors perform in more than 600 schools in the Great Lakes and mid-Atlantic regions. It has received honors from the Association for the Education of Young Children, Ohio State Awards, Athens Film Festival and the Department of Health and Human Services.

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