Through years of doing high school class photos, Pam Patrick of Patrick Photographic Studio has heard many sad stories from kids who have been affected by bullying. “We deal with 18-20 schools each year and these kids tell us things. And we realized things. There has always been bullying and physical violence but it seems things are getting worse. Now there’s this cyber-bullying. This has to stop. We listened and we thought, who better to champion this cause? Let’s get this out in the open and let’s deal with it,” Patrick said.
They came up with an idea that lots of students could take part in – a fashion and variety show called Strut Out Bullying. The event is 6 p.m. May 7 at the Warren Civic Center and is free to the public. Over 80 students from 18 area schools are involved in the grand production, including a drum line from Warren Mott and Cousino High, a singer from Royal Oak High School, and fashion from students from Rochester and Sterling De La Salle. Students from the Warren Woods Cosmetology program are donating the hair and make-up for youth who will be taking the runway.
Mixed with the entertainment will be skits written by the youths about bullying, tackling how it feels to be bullied, including a youth who is taunted for being gay. “They want to show what it is like when kids are being bullied. Judgment signs are placed on them and rescuers rip them off and put good messages on instead,” Patrick said. The point is to show that standing up for others can make a difference. “We want to give these kids a way to say ‘we’re not going to do this,’ and to stop the bullying.”
The students met weekly for over a month to put the program together. Patrick hopes to be able to make this an annual event.
In addition to the performances, students will be presenting a pledge to the Mayor of Warren, stating that they will not bully others.