BY VIVIAN LUONG
Special to The Free Press
Bruce Langford was bullied as a child.
Now 43 and a teacher, he tackles the issue of bullying in his musical show called Stand Up Against Bullying.
Langford wishes shows like his were available when he was a victim.
“I don’t remember bullying ever being discussed (in schools),” said Langford, who teaches music at New Sarum public school in Elgin County.
Langford sends anti-bullying messages to his younger audience using sing-alongs, role playing, an interactive question period and a catchy music video that stars him and student actors.
“Being a teacher, I understand it takes a certain thing to connect with students,” he said.
“If you just come out and talk to them, it’s very dull and boring.”
Since September, he has taken his show to about 50 elementary schools. He performed three anti-bullying shows yesterday for pupils at Byron Northview public school.
In his first show for the junior grades, he introduced himself as DJ Benny DL and told them the show was being broadcast live on ATFM radio, a fictional station that stands for his production company, A Time For Music.
Langford convinced most pupils he was an on-air DJ with his radio microphone, fake commercial breaks and prerecorded messages from callers (one of the callers was his wife).
Near the end of the show, one boy in the audience asked Langford, “How do they call in?”
The rest of the youngsters remained oblivious as they were having too much of a good time, winning prizes for asking a question, singing and clapping at songs with educational lyrics and messages such as Speak Up and Be a Winner.
Josef Prossler, a Grade 3 pupil, said his favourite song was Stand Up, which opened and closed the show.
“It was cool. It was neat,” Prossler said. “I learned a lot. I learned you should stand up to a kid against bullying. There was nothing I didn’t like.”
Omar Meddaoui learned a thing or two about bullies by pretending to be one in a skit.
“I learned that people bully people just to get their attention, just to be the boss of them,” said the Grade 3 pupil.
Penny Geddes, a parent of three children at Byron, liked what she saw.
“It’s great they have this kind of (show) now,” she said. “All schools should have it.”
Stand Up Against Bullying is available to all schools. Langford charges $200 a show.
The Thames Valley District school board covers $50 a show.
At Byron Northview, parents were asked to donate $1 a person to help cover the rest of the cost.
For Geddes, it was worth it.
“In this case, a loonie went a long way,” she said.
“It was a good show.”
The Thames Valley board sponsored another anti-violence play yesterday at Banting secondary school.
The play, Phoenix Rising, deals with issues of isolation, depression and suicide.