Southeast MO State students use their skin to tackle bullying

Southeast MO State students use their skin to tackle bullying

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - According to researchers, more than 3.2 million students are bullied each year, and 64 percent of those young people do not report it.

Those alarming numbers have students at Southeast Missouri State University rolling up their sleeves.

"It gives the bully a vision of what they're doing to the person they're bullying," senior Madeline Lebeter said.

Lebeter is one of the students who helped create the Skin Deep Project to help students realize words can be a powerful thing.

"It's meant to get a voice out for other students to hear a story that they may not be able to share with anybody else," she said. "[It's meant] for others to know that they're valued and wanted."

Students involved in the project painted different parts of their body with words that others have used against them.

Then they painted on words that are more accurate about themselves.

Jean Harris is the instructor for the interpersonal studies class. She said the project was made to be a reflective experience for the students.

"We considered how language impacts reality, how it shapes reality," Harris said. "So instead of just having them just consider communication theory, what I wanted them to do was take that theory and apply it to their own lives."

The display even has a place where students can leave words to be posted later by students in the class.

Harris calls the response to the display overwhelming.

"Students are responding to it, clearly it hits a nerve," she said. "There are things that they want to express and this seems to be an excellent forum for them to do so."

Lebeter said even though the display will come down soon, she hopes the impact stays with students.

"I want it to go on forever until it doesn't need to," Lebeter said.

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