Gulfport High students hope simple skit can make schools safer

Gulfport High students hope simple skit can make schools safer

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - We all have our boxes.

"Those who are religious," yelled debate teacher Chelsea Lewis as she tried to separate the participants into categories.

Gulfport High School students quickly learned what these boxes symbolized.

"Those who speak another language," Lewis beckoned again.

The students began to understand how complex the subject could become.

"You're also an athlete," she said to one. "I know you can be in two boxes."

But, students are hoping to stop violence through understanding, and this simple exercise could have far-reaching effects to make schools safer.

About 100 students are participating in a skit created by the debate team and filmed by the Gulfport High broadcast journalism class that will be aired next week for students as part of National Youth Violence Prevention Week.

The debate team began the process about the time of the Florida shooting. The basic premise is no matter what group you identify yourself with everyone has something in common.

The debate students devised the skit based on the video "Three Beautiful Human Minutes".

"We were inspired by a video that was promoting Denmark actually, kind of random," said student Ellie Herndon. "But, we thought it was kind of similar to how there's different groups in Gulfport High, how there's different groups in societies."

Once groups were divided, they were asked questions that identify common ground.

"Who likes to dance?" "Who likes to read?" Or something more serious. "Who comes from a divorced home?" Lewis asked.

"The football player can connect with the kid who's been in alternative school," Lewis said. "The student who is an immigrant and a refugee from Honduras can connect with the valedictorian."

It's an enlightening experience for everyone involved.

"It was really good, and so we just wanted to do it because it just showed like even though you are kind of different, you're still the same," said student Khanlor Smith.

Student Mary Thames added, "I think people get intimidated a lot by people who are different than them but it's important to recognize that we all share things in common. We all have the same struggle, and we all often times have the same goals."

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