Bystander
About the Program
What They Are Saying
Sample Program
About the Program

To effectively reach the difficult middle school population, the students must have some connection to the performers they view. During middle school priority is given to friendships and in-school relationships. Inviting someone outside of this very complicated school family tree to speak on an issue gives the student body no stake in the assembly. Bystander: A Portrait in Apathy immedietely allows the student body to invest themselves in the message as the performers are people with whom they share a lunch table, a study group, or gym class. Using students from within the school population to spread a very valuable message insures the audience will take notice.

The first step for a school who makes the decision to empower their students by booking the Bystander: A Portrait in Apathy program is to select a group of fifteen to twenty students who are responsible, capable, and vocal enough to perform in front of a large audience. The more heterogeneous this group is, the better. The more diverse the group of performers the more likely it is that each member of the audience can individually connect to one or more of the performers.

This program requires a week long commitment from the middle school. During that week for two hours a day during or after school, Jillian Palmieri will meet with the pre-selected group. In that two hours a day, the students will rehearse a twenty to twenty-five minute performance aimed at the bystander population. In addition to rehearsing during these sessions, the students will discuss bullying in depth both in their school and in the world around them. They will also prepare to facilitate small group debriefing sessions that follow their Friday performance. This group of performers will be well-versed in bullying causes and effects and be prepared to hold question and answer sessions following their performance.

On the Friday of the selected week, the students will perform their assembly for their classmates and teachers at a run time of twenty to twenty-five minutes. Following their performance, the students will lead small group debriefing sessions with members of the audience. During these sessions, the student performers will lead a reflection exercise and facilitate question and answer time with their small group. At the conclusion of the allotted discussion time, student performers will have their groups sign the Bystander Pledge which calls the students to action by recognizing their refusal to be a bystander.
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