Bedford Students Find Higher Ground

It’s a sad but true fact of middle school life:  Kids get bullied.

They’re called “retard,” “lardass” and “gay.”  They get pushed and shoved, or — sometimes worse — ignored.

Bullying is front and center at Bedford.  But that’s okay:  The school’s acting group is tackling the issue head on, with a production of “Higher Ground.”

The play — set for this Thursday and Friday, May 27 and 28 (7:30 p.m.) — addresses various types of bullying.  The central character is teased and harassed when he walks away after insinuations are made about his sexuality.

The title comes from an image of youngsters running — like animals — to higher ground, to escape predators.

Some of the cast of "Higher Ground." (Photo by Kerry Long)

“The kids love it,” says Bedford drama teacher Karen McCormick.  “It’s honest and true.  They really relate to it.”

Students at Sherwood Middle School in Oregon related to it too — especially because it was written by their drama teacher, Jennie Brown.  But school administrators there banned the play, after parents objected.  Officials said the play was too mature for many students, and might have offended audience members.

McCormick has the full backing of colleagues.  Principal Cary Bell is so enthusiastic, he asked the cast to perform the show for the entire school.  He’s even been written into one scene.

“I don’t know what effect it will have on the audience,” McCormick says.  “But the 40 or 50 kids involved in the play are all talking about it, and thinking about it.”

Bedford is even bringing Brown — the author and teacher — to Westport.

She’ll talk to Bedford students about bullying — and will finally see her play performed at a middle school.

(Tickets for this Thursday and Friday’s 7:30 p.m. performances of “Higher Ground” are available at the door.)

4 responses to “Bedford Students Find Higher Ground

  1. Outside Observer

    GREAT!!!!!! Thank you Karen McCormick and
    Principle Bell. Keep up the good work.
    Dan, you are a little late this morning. You feeling all right?

  2. Blame it on the RSS feed!

  3. Excellent! Recent suicides by bullied kids should have awakened all of us to the long standing tradition of ridicule to foster your own self-image. In one recent tragedy, even the administration was fearful to intervene because they thought they would lose the support of “cool” kids. I am somewhat suprised that Sherwood would not allow it. The town of 11,000+ in southeast Oregon usually is known for its open mindedness. So kudos to the Bedford brass for some good solid and practical education!

  4. Innocent Bystander

    Having been the blundt of “Alfred E. Newman” jokes my entire time at BJHS, I can relate to the sensitivity of bullying. The only thing that saved me was that I could turn a double play ball with the best of them.
    But apparently now many bullies use the internet as an cruel instrument for ridicule. Any change has to come from the parents but the school is a very good place to start. Congratulations to those in power for making such a strong choice.