NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) – According to a study, one in every five students reports of being bullied. Today, the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office (IPSO) held a bullying presentation at Iberia Middle School called “Lifting Our Voices As One, Taking A Stand Against Bullying.”
“I just want to say to those that are out there who like to put people down. Stop it, just stop. It’s not nice. It’s not pretty, and it’s not caused for because when you’re hurting somebody, you’re not just hurting that individual, but you’re hurting their whole family,” said Iberia Middle School Resource Officer Bonnie Gunner.
The school presentation was held in the gym, and Principal Bourque gave the welcome and closing remarks. In a four-part skit, Jason Mouton played Ethan, a victim of bullying. He opens in the first scene, talking to his mother, played by Sandra Burleigh, his actual birth mother.
“I felt inspired to do it because no other person could connect with their child, seeing them on the ground and their mother and I felt I had to do that,” said the mother.
Ethan is supposed to get ready for school but does not want to go because he gets bullied. In the second scene, he walks back and forth in his bedroom, thinking of all he has to deal with at school and the negative things those bullying him do to him.
“I think this is really important because bullying is a huge problem everywhere. It’s not just here. You have it in elementary schools, high schools, and colleges; it doesn’t stop when you’re grown. It gets worse if anything,” said Burleigh.
There were two guest speakers, including Amanda Krackle, who shared how she was a victim of bullying in school. Brandy Roberts, who is an Iberia Parish teacher, also shared how she lost her loved one, who was the victim of bullying.
“We found out on her phone that she got tired, and no one knows because, to everybody outside, she’s funny. She enjoyed dancing. Making everybody laugh,” she said. “I lost my best friend on September 7, 2020. I have to watch my best friend surrender in a hospital and pray that she would come through.”
She told News 10 that as a teacher; she sees students who are hurting and do not want to go to school. She also encouraged teachers to build relationships with students to be aware of those dealing with bullying.
“Teachers can’t catch everything, although we try. Parents, even though the students and children are under their roof, we have no knowledge, and sometimes we find out when it’s too late,” she said.
Ethan takes the stage for the third scene. He is walking the hallway of the school and encounters three bullies. They talk about his clothes, glasses, and other things as Ethan begs them to stop and leave him alone.
In the final scene, Ethan gets home after school, calls his mother, and tells her he must take the car to ride and clear his head. His mother tells him no, and to wait for her, and then they can talk about what is going on. However, Ethan did not listen and took the car keys. Unfortunately, he gets into a car accident and dies. On the stage is his mother crying out for her son to return. In the audience, tears fell from some students’ faces as they watched.
Landon Mogerman, one of the actors in the skit, shared that his role was difficult to play.
“It was actually kind of difficult to do it because it felt real, and I did not enjoy the whole part where he had to die because of that,” he told News 10. “People get bullied every day or probably sometimes just sad at the time. They might seem happy on the outside because they don’t want people to see so how exactly how they are. So they’ll try and probably try to put on an act.”
“The kids need to know that they can reach out and talk to somebody. Before, they do feel like they have to take their life because nobody has to do it,” said Burleigh.
Sheriff Tommy Romero spoke to the students after the last scene and said that “most of the bullying, whether we know this or not, comes from middle school kids. Bullying has a negative effect on those people that are bullied. Those doing the bullying and those that witnessed bullying, and I know you have heard this before. If you see something, say something. Tell somebody something.”
Other students in the skit were Cae’miri Wells, Ja’leah Casimere, Olivia Toutcheque, Zahn Youman, Mekilun Celestine, Daylin Diaz, and Kierra Tauriac.