FRESNO, Calif. - In an effort to combat bullying, Kaiser Permanente is putting on theater performances at local schools to teach students how to face challenging issues, including bullying and domestic violence. On Monday, the program visited Hamilton Elementary in Fresno.
The performance was called Peace Signs. It teaches students ways to resolve conflicts peacefully. It's a part of Kaiser Permanente's effort to increase access to mental health counseling to students and staff.
Rachelle Cornwell is a teacher at Hamilton Elementary. She said, "We want them to understand that words do hurt and that there has to be a way that they can resolve any conflict they have among themselves."
Cornwell said many of the topics discussed during Monday's assembly will hopefully help the students during difficult times.
"How many of you have dealt with conflicts? We all have, adults as well," said Cornwell to the students.
The live performance was put on by Kp's Educational Theater Program. It was funded by a $98,000 grant to increase access to trauma-informed support services to students and staff.
Actors like Eric Gutierrez play out scenes of bullying and peer pressure.
He said, "We know that talking to an adult can be difficult. And so we have a show about three students who are dealing with sensitive and serious conflict and how they find the courage to speak to the people in their lives who they trust."
The performance promotes peaceful conflict resolution. Gutierrez said he hopes every student takes something positive from the play.
On Tuesday, there will be follow up workshops for the students to talk about what they learned from the performance. On Wednesday, it's family night, where parents and the community will be able to see the play again with the students.