"I AM NOT AFRAID"
Play Aims to Keep Little Bullies from Becoming Bigger Ones
Local Author on Mission to Nip Bullying in the Bud for Upcoming School Year
Bullying is a problem affecting communities and school systems of all sizes. It frustrates teachers and administrators, angers parents and eats away at the self-esteem of thousands of victims every year. The subject of bullying weighed heavy on the mind of local children's book author Ayana Sala Baugh as she prepares her own son for his first year of public schooling during this upcoming year.
"The idea that my son, who is a happy, normal and trusting boy being tormented by bullies during his first year of school was more than I could bear. I got to thinking about it, did some research and after see all the damage inflicted by them I then decided to do something about it."
What the author did was enlist the support of local thespians, secure the Caroline County Community Center for two days in September and write a musical stage play 'I Am Not Afraid', focusing on the issue and addressing it from a new and very common sense perspective.
"The incidents of bullying that make the headlines each year, the ones leading to the most dreadful result, almost all occur between the grades of eight to twelve. I asked myself, 'where do these big bullies come from?' The answer, obviously, little bullies. Bullying that leads to attempted suicides, suicides, shooting rampages and such is perpetrated by teenagers who were probably bullies at a younger age. The little bullies of today will grow to become bigger bullies tomorrow if left unchecked."
The play, narrated by current Caroline High principal and former Bowling Green Elementary principal Jeff Wick, is a story of Loopiethotamus (a Chihuahua Who Thinks He is a Hippopotamus) who goes to school for the first time and is beset by a group of bullies. Helping him face the challenges are his brother, sister, mother and father and new friends. The story examines circumstances that cause a child to become a bully and how other students, teachers and family can help support the victim and show the little bullies how to overcome the hardships leading to their behavior.