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Perrysburg High School students take anti-bullying message to elementary school

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After the play by the Perrysburg High School students, the Frank Elementary and high school students sang an anti-bullying song with their motto: F is for friends who stick up for each other. U is for you and me, and N is for nobody deserves to be bullied.

The Blade/Matt Thompson
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Darth Vader and Darth Maul, Star Wars characters, showed the dangers of cyber bullying in a play produced by Perrysburg High School students in front of all Perrysburg elementary schools.

Frank Elementary students laughed, giggled, and cheered their favorite movie characters acting out bullying scenes on Tuesday, and then saw the bullies correct their mistakes.

PHOTO GALLERY: Anti-bullying play 

"Bullying is wrong and we wanted to show that the high school supports that," high school actor Abby Newman said. "It is not something we want them doing, and they look up to us. They saw how we felt about bullying, we wanted to make a point."

She was one of 17 actors from Rob Gentry's Acting and Directing class. The class wrote the script and practiced it for weeks as a project.

The young Newman and Elise Gallerno played "Mistreated" and "Misunderstood" narrators, respectively, to a bullying anonymous group full of Disney princesses, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Star Wars characters, and a crowd favorite Spiderman. 

"He didn't let us ride in the Millennium Force," actor Corey Gray said in his role as Darth Vader. That meant, the character said, he could pick on Luke Skywalker on the virtual social media Web site "Spacebook."

"We tried to add humor to keep it interesting," Mr. Gentry said. "We incorporated the bullying rules from elementary counselors in the play."

The rules came out clearly in the play through different skits.

Captain Hook learned not to say mean things to Tinkerbell. The Disney princesses decided gossip is bad, and that meant about anyone. Darth Vader and Maul said it is not OK to use technology to be mean, and Dr. Octopus is not going to use violence to solve his problems anymore.

"We really try to promote anti-bullying here, and Mr. Gentry's class skits were another tool to advance what we do," said Brent Swartzmiller, Frank Elementary principal. "They took characters the kids are familiar with and related it to them. They were very engaged."

Mr. Swartzmiller also enjoyed seeing high school students come back. The message is more "powerful" when it comes from people they look up to, the principal said.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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