SHERMAN, TEXAS -- What normally happens in the back of a classroom or in text messages was put front and center at Sherman High School Tuesday.
Students were encouraged to bully their peers, teasing and heckling, in an exercise intended to stop this kind of behavior.
The student bullied in this scenario is asked to describe how it feels. Teacher Symantha Murray says these lessons are tough, and absolutely necessary.
"Kids today, you know, they don't need fluff. They're used to reality. You can't sugar coat things for them," Murray said.
We asked Murray about recent studies, suggesting programs like these actually make bullying worse.
"I don't know who they surveyed, where they surveyed, all I know is that at Sherman High School, we have found it to be beneficial," Murray said.
Program leaders say the students' feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
"We've had several come to our class while we're in there and say thanks to y'all, y'all saved me," student Billy-Rhett Lane said.
Program founder Dani Jarvis led the group in a powerful activity, asking students to cross the gym floor if a statement describes them, like...
"Going to school every day and not having friends to sit with a lunch, or going to school wearing maybe the same clothes you wore last week," Jarvis said.
Students are also asked if they've been abused, suffered alcohol or drug addiction, or think life isn't worth living.
It's an emotional eye-opener to help students better understand each other's struggles, and it doesn't leave a dry eye in the room.
"They let go. They just want somebody to listen to them; listen to their story, and just, to be there, to support them," Jarvis said.