MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Bullies are forcing more than 160,000 kids across the country to stay home from school every day.

A recent survey showed that more than half of students in Minnesota schools reported they’d been involved in bullying at least once in the past year. Either as a bully or being bullied.

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It’s a story that’s all too familiar, so the Youth Performance Company based in Minneapolis is facing the problem head-on in their new anti-bullying musical: “MEAN.”

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“We’re taking a really difficult subject matter that really is facing most communities and schools right now, which is bullying. We’re hoping that this is a platform that is the starting point of conversation,” said Jacie Knight, founder and director of Youth Performance Company.

“MEAN” is an original musical that opens Oct. 5 at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center in Minneapolis. It runs through Oct. 23. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for kids under 18.

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All of the actors in the production are from different schools around the Twin Cities.