STRUTHERS, Ohio - Bullying. It's something that can happen to any person, at any age, for any reason.
"It is one of the major issues that we go through in middle school," said Struthers Middle School student Karli Shives.
Sometimes bullying can spiral out of control, which is what happens in "Endgame," the book a class of Struthers eighth-graders just finished. In the book, the 14-year-old main character is the target of relentless bullying. He eventually goes on a school shooting spree.
"You kind of understand now what is going through the mind of school shooters like in Newtown or in Columbine," said Struthers Middle School student A. J. Larussi
While the story is entirely fictional, the plot is something we've unfortunately witnessed over and over again. Author Nancy Garden, who Skyped with the advanced language arts class, wrote the book following the Columbine shooting.
"I've done a lot of research on that and especially Dave Collin. His book, Columbine, where the kids had prior knowledge and they were looking at non-fiction text and I wanted to parallel that with something fictional," said Struthers Middle School teacher Jennifer Pint.
The result is a powerful lesson that resonates among the class.
"It really does bring up the concept of how it feels to be bullied multiple times and you get into the character's mindset and you actually start to feel the same emotions as them. So, reading it through literature is kind of almost the same as experiencing it yourself," said Struthers Middle School student Kat Savory.