By Anna Erickson

Century School students learned about bullying and ways to combat it through performances by CLIMB Theatre Thursday.

CLIMB Theatre is a non-profit in its 39th year. Plays are performed in classes in more than 400 schools throughout the Midwest. CLIMB Theatre actors reach approximately 200,000 students annually.

In bullying situations, there are almost always three types of students: the perpetrator, the target, and the bystanders (students who watch and may do nothing), according to CLIMB. In one study, bystanders who do intervene stop bullying 57 percent of the time in less than 10 seconds.

Thursday morning, students in grades 3-5 watched a play about standing up to a bully.

According to the plot summary, “Things are already going horribly wrong. Vandy Van der Velden is the new kid in the neighborhood and Wheels Wheeler, a girl who bullies, has befriended her. So has Wheels’ target, Gustavo “Gusty” Lopez. Vandy is caught in a tight spot. Should she stand up to Wheels and run the risk of being targeted herself, or should she keep quiet?”

During the play, both Vandy and Gusty learn to stand up to the bully. They also learn to use the “CALM” tool: C – Cool down, A – Assert yourself, L – Lift your chin and M – Mean it.

Students in grades 6-8 also watched a play about bullying Thursday afternoon.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.