Some Citrus County students and residents are working to address the problem of childhood bullying through a new independent film.
No Place In This World delves into the harsh reality of bullying, at home and in schools.
Local Bullying Policies
Dawn Horton of CVI Productions says the film will talk about how often kids will skip school when they become victims and how much that can harm them.
"If kids aren't in school, where there's adults watching them, and they're skipping, we don't know what's going to happen with those kids either," Horton said.
According to a 2015 study from WalletHub.com, Florida is among the states with the highest percentages of kids who miss school because they feel unsafe.
"The biggest thing is fear," Horton said.
The independent movie is filming in different locations around the city of Inverness, including Citrus High School.
Hayley Castillo plays Lauren Wright, a girl terrorized by three popular girls in her school.
"She gets upset and she's like broken, mentally," she said.
Castillo said reading through the script made her realize other kids go through this on a daily basis.
"It just made me kind of upset that kids actually have to go through that at school," she said.
Jackson Tessmer plays a student who is unaware that Lauren is being bullied until it's too late.
"I'm surprised that they could be that mean and not care at all," Tessmer said.
He says he now understands how some kids will cut class just to get away from tormenters.
"They don't want to be embarrassed and they don't want to be made fun of," Tessmer said. "They just don't want to deal with any of that."
These actors hope local kids will see the film and say something if they or their friends become victims.
"You just need to tell someone," Castillo said. "You need to speak up."
The film starts shooting Oct. 1 and is set to premiere in April 2017.