Tag Archives: Cary Bell

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.)