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HomeHealth & BehaviorBullying

One scary movie you might want your child to see

The documentary, Bully, captures a wicked picture of what’s really going on in schools: rampant bullying and the utter failure of adults to stop it.

By Carol Lloyd

“The last couple days we heard that Tyler had his head shoved into a wall locker, they said he was a geek.” We hear the voice of Tyler’s father speaking over home movies of a sandy-haired boy clowning around in the living room. “Some kids had told him that he was worthless, to go hang himself, and I think he got to a point to where enough was enough.” Suddenly we’re at a fresh gravesite and we understand that the worst has occurred: Tyler killed himself.

It’s only moments into the staggering new documentary called Bully,
but already a number of us are hiding our faces as we frankly lose it in the banal setting of the GreatSchools conference room. It’s a workday, after all, and the morning screening has taken us by surprise.

GreatSchools got a chance to preview the Lee Hirsch film before its release under a storm of controversy in April, 2012. Its message is urgent. Every year 13 million kids are bullied, as the movie tells us, making it the most common form of violence against children in America. It’s equally clear who needs to see this movie: many children (children who have been bullied, who have bullied others, or who have witnessed bullying) as well as every educator and parent in America.

The film, which follows the experiences of five children whose lives have been forever changed by bullying, isn’t for the faint of heart. Watching it feels like having your chest opened with a can opener then sprinkled with rock salt. The music is haunting, the voices of parents who have lost their children are unspeakably sad, and the language is raw: apparently many kids swear like truck drivers when not in the presence of adults.

We meet Ja’Meya, an African American middle schooler, whose good grades and quiet demeanor earned her years of abuse for being a Goody Two-shoes. One day she snapped. Taking matters into her own hands, she brought her mother’s loaded gun onto the school bus to protect herself from relentless tormenters. She waved it around to show them she wasn’t taking any more, but no shots were fired and no one was hurt. After being arrested and charged with multiple felony counts, she was sent to juvie, where, if her heavy lids and listlessness offer any indication, it’s evident that she was heavily medicated. Though no one could condone her behavior, it’s painfully obvious that this little girl, who had never displayed any behavioral problems before, has been pushed to the brink of insanity by bullying.

But it’s the real-time footage of bullying that makes this movie far more powerful than any parade of bullying experts on an evening news magazine — and much more germane for young viewers. Finally, children’s experience is put up front and center without adult rhetoric muddying the issue. The low-profile filmmakers, using a tiny video camera that more resembles a device for still photography, spent weeks on school campuses filming all sorts of events — from school performances to classes. The result is that children forgot the filmmakers were there and actual bullying proceeded as it does in real life: uninhibited by adult eyes. We witness cruelty, verbal obscenities and physical assault of the sort that many parents remain blissfully ignorant are part and parcel of their children’s lives.

In fact, the obliviousness of adults and their failure to take bullying seriously is one of the most disturbing aspects of Bully. We witness graphic scenes from the violent frontlines of childhood, but when kids attempt to report back from the warzone of their daily lives, the adults fail, again and again, to get it. This bad behavior on the part of adults serves as an excellent talking point with your child — to build a bridge with them and make them understand you will never respond the same way. And it’s one of the strongest reasons to overlook the movie’s adults-only rating. In the film, a brief respite of domestic normality for a bullied boy turns noxious when his otherwise well-meaning father chides him for being bullied, inquiring if he actually likes it. In another excruciating scene, a teacher pressures a bullied boy to shake hands with his clearly unrepentant tormenter. When the bullied child refuses, the teacher suggests it’s his fault for not being friendly.

Finally, and most egregiously, we get to watch principals and school board officials spin their "kids will be kids" PR campaigns exonerating themselves of responsibility. In a scene that makes my stomach turn to even recall a principal assures parents whose son has been repeatedly assaulted and whose head has been crushed underneath a bus seat: "I've been on that bus and those kids are as good as gold."

We've all seen documentaries that push the limits to make their point, with snow jobs, exaggeration, and willful lack of balance. But this is no Michael Moore flick. At the end of the screening, we asked about the adults whose actions we found so appalling. Had they seen the film? How many lawsuits were pending from angry educators? But the filmmakers went to great lengths to be careful. After the film had been edited into a cohesive story, they returned and watched the film with those adults who got it terribly wrong. The fact that these educators made no objection to the film’s release redeems them to some extent. These education professionals may have been clueless, but they meant no harm.

So when the Motion Picture Association of America initially gave the film an R rating for the seven-odd f-bombs issuing from the mouths of babes, it provoked uproar about the state of our ratings system and whether the film would lose an important target audience. A Michigan high school student started a change.org petition asking the MPAA to give the film a PG-13 rating instead. The petition received more than 500,000 signatures, and Bully ultimately received a PG-13 rating.

Which doesn't mean it's not a tough movie to watch. All children are different and only a parent can know what’s right for their kid. But it’s worth asking in the case of a film that depicts a range of ordinary public schools, events which occur in school hallways and on school buses every day, what exactly are we protecting tweens and teens from by not letting them see this movie? For their part, the filmmakers are attempting to make this film ignite real change: they’ve created a 70-page facilitator's guide to help educators and parents use the film to spur conversations with kids. In the end this isn’t adults-only content. It’s real, live, kid-on-kid violence, and it starts very young. In the movie, the youngest subject, who took his own life, was 11.

In the wake of countless school shootings and many too many heartbreaking youth suicides, the bullying problem in our society is screaming for attention. For many children, our schools are not the safe places we parents assume them to be. For all our parental handwringing, new laws aimed at taking bullying more seriously, and anti-bullying organizations earnestly implementing programs, in too many schools we are still failing to protect children from the very people they should have no reason to fear — other children.

The teen who shot five other kids at a Cleveland-area high school in 2012, for example, has been characterized as a victim of bullying. But even if this is not the case, the story reminds us of some of the endemic problems that allow bullying to proliferate. The boy apparently warned his friends of his intentions two days in advance, but nothing was done about it. According to the U.S. Secret Service, which collects statistics on school violence, prior knowledge is the norm in school shootings. In 81 percent of the incidents, at least one person knew that the attack would take place and the vast majority of those informed were friends, schoolmates, or siblings — that is, other kids. Not every school shooting is related to bullying, but neither do they happen in a vacuum — they often transpire in a culture where other kids (and sometimes adults) have known there were problems but looked the other way.

For this reason, Bully may be the most important scary movie your children ever see.

Check out the trailer for Bully, a close-up — and terrifying — look at what's happening in many of our schools.

 

is the executive editor of GreatSchools and mother to two raucous daughters, ages 9 and 13.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

05/16/2012:
"My child was SEVERELY bullied. What makes me so angry is here is yet another article, about a movie, to draw attention to the TREMENDOUS pain bullying causes. For what are these articles written? Awareness? Yet this very site allowed the principal of the school that allowed the tormenting of my child to remove the postings complaining of this schools permissive attitude toward bullying, it was therefore aiding in "covering up" bullying "
04/13/2012:
"Stop bullying by teaching kids Not to be a bully themselves. Most of the times, it's a chain reaction, bullied kids explodes and finds way to bully back. I'll consider watching the movie with my junior high kids and discuss about it afterwards. I agree, teachers, school admin/staff,parents should watch the movie especially elementary level because that's when bullying starts to develop. No to bullying! "
04/12/2012:
"This world...... is crazy. Tears will pour out of my eyes everytime I think of this. Bullying is wrong. "
04/12/2012:
"Bullying led to many world events. Napoleon was bullied in his youth. He ended up taking a majority of Europe. Alot of gangsters were bullied in their youth. Hitler was bullied in his youth, causing a mental condition causing him to be insane and try to take over Earth. This world is crazy. "
04/11/2012:
"yes yes! knowladge is power! my daughter well see this to. "
04/2/2012:
"I totally agree. What is the difference, I hear lots of bad language from elementary kids. My grand son gets bullied all the time because he is ADHD, Kids don't understand them and some teachers don't either. Just because you are different does not mean that you should be bullied. I work with my grand son daily on this bullying thing. He is in Jr. High. He is on the small size because of meds he takes. Also I read a good book over the weekend called Whale Song (School Edition) by Cheryl Kaye Tardif. It is a great book for the upper elementary and Jr. and High school students to read, it is about, bullying, relationships, death. I loved the book and recommend this book for reading "
04/2/2012:
"I was bullied in middle school and it still haunts me and gets in my way because of the self-esteem damage. Now when I saw the bullying start in elem school for my aspergers son, I tried verbal and when that didn't work, I filed a report because we live in MA and there is a form we can use. The bully was punished but it was labeled something different so the district could keep their stats down. I had to move and take a loss on my house. So now I feel like three times a victim. This movie couldn't come soon enough and it's not the kids that need to watch it. "
03/26/2012:
"i think that the movie bully needs to be rated pg-13 so middle schoolers can see it i am in middle school and i see bullying the most in middle school. mabye one day they can show us the movie bully "
03/26/2012:
"This is a must see movie for all teachers, after-school childcare workers, principals and directors. My daughter experienced assault, battery from bully boys. She's experienced the oppressive girl-2-girl bullism. She screamed that she was done!! and threatened the girl with a pencil. The director, without investigating the on going bullying, threatened to suspend or expel my daughter. What she did was wrong, but she did the threat right in front of the safety of the director of school. She had no other way of saying ENOUGH!! And the director is still sitting on his perch while my daughter continues to be bullied everyday by this one girl. This movie will be a must see, then a reason for me to become involved and act. "
03/26/2012:
"Definitely something parents should watch WITH their children. "
03/22/2012:
"What we really need is for TEACHERS, STAFF, and ADMINISTRATION to see this. Our kids are already aware of the bullying. I'm so tired of it..... "
03/22/2012:
"I am a mom of a 14 year old in private Catholic high school, and going through having my son bulled buy his baseball team mates!! It's breaking my heart he dosen't want to go to school! wants to give up his passion, that he is soo good at . Iv tried to find help from the coach vice principle principal admissions other parents!! Have had the same things said to us boys will be boys at this age ... nothing is wrong you are making to much of this even thought I have written proof of internet bulling . even the priest did nothing in fact didn't even respond to my call or emails!! i fell so hopeless where do you turn to get help!! How do you be the one who makes the difference? How do I help my child ? "
03/22/2012:
"I cannot stop the tears after watching this trailer. My son is a constant target for bullys having Asperger's and being different from the masses. This really hits home. I hope everyone will have the backbone to get involved and advocate for the zero tolerance of bullying. "
03/21/2012:
"My child was bullied in school. The school and parents knew about it and nothing was done about it. He was a happy, smart, good kid and never got into trouble. But, it got so bad, he started withdrawing, got physically sick, and was afraid to go to shool or ride the bus. I finally had to move in order to get this to stop. I believe all children and parents should see this movie. "
03/19/2012:
"This is a must see movie for everyone.... We need to take a stand against bullies, terrorists, and violence... "
03/19/2012:
"I think we're reaching a tipping point about bullying, and that is a good thing. Parents who have moral values should stand together on this. If your kids are being bullied, fight it and reach out to other other families whose kids are bullied; maybe your kid is bullied b/c he is autistic, another kid b/c he is gay, another kid for a different reason -- the different reasons don't matter, reach out, network, you are much stronger and your kids are stronger together. Also, teach your own kids to treat other people like they would want to be treated -- basic ethical education, across religious and cultural divides, which is sadly lacking in many parents today. Many public schools wonder why they are losing students to charter schools, private schools, home schooling -- this is one reason. "
03/13/2012:
"We moved to get away from a bully gang of teacher's kids in a very beautiful suburban neighborhood. The "not my child" attitude prevailed and only magnified the problem. We sold our home at a considerable loss, and we moved away from our friends. Our current situation is better, not perfect. My kids desperately miss their childhood friends. They have made new friends, but its not the same. If we had stayed, we feared the worst. I will never forgive the families who knowingly allowed their children to bully mine. Shame on those, teachers and parents, who turn the other cheek! "
03/12/2012:
"Well done! Thank you for bringing this movie to the attention of Great Schools readers. I recently saw a screening of the film at the LDA (Learning Disabilities Association of America) Conference in Chicago. I then received an email asking for my signature to overturn the R rating - I could not have signed fast enough. My children are 12 and 15 and they will be going to this movie with me. I do not approve of the "f-bomb" and they have never seen a rated-R movie. The message and the way it is given is just too important for them to miss. "
03/12/2012:
"I was bullied at school and on the bus as a child. I never forgot the experience. It stays with you for as long as you live. Kids can be very cruel for no reason at all and when the child being bullied fights back and something bad happens some people can not understand how it got to that level. I am glad there is a movie now to really show what goes on within the school system and how things are ignored and overlooked. Just maybe it will prevent another child from going through what I and many other children have gone through. "
03/12/2012:
"To all of the people that say" Im so tired of people taking about bullying!!!" are just disappointing. Those are the people that probably were bullies once in their lives. It may seem like it's not a big deal but to a kid who is really insecure or sad or what ever that kid maybe going through, being bullied will destroy that kid. I am a 16 year old high school student and I have been bullied all of my life. Through the years I have learned no to give a s*** what other people say about me but in the end of the day all you can think of is all of the things that bullies do and say to you and it is really depressing. So if you think that kids need to grow up and deal with bullies, just know that it isn't easy. And now with the internet it is way easier to be bullied. So think before you say "Im so tired of people taking about bullying!!!" because those bullies have caused me to cut myself and to almost kill myself because I now feel worthless. And this is how almost every kid th! at gets bullied ends up. "
03/9/2012:
"The people who are "tired of hearing people talk about bullying" are probably people who have never had their child bullied before. It changes you, to see the hurt and know how it is changing the way they think and feel about themselves is so saddening. All we can do is try to teach our kids to stand up for themselves. But also the "bully" needs to know what is right and wrong and sometimes "talking about it" is all we can do to educate these kids. And the saying that kids will be kids is a cop-out...actually "mean kids will be mean kids" is more like it. If it were a "kid" thing, then all of our children would be behaving like this, and they're not! "
03/9/2012:
"I'm surprised at some of the comments people make.... I will see the doc, but I'm so tired of people talking about bullying" is one comment that astounds me. If we don't talk about it, how can we expect to ever make progress? Just because it's been going on for years doesn't mean we ignore it. "
03/8/2012:
"I will see the doc, but Im so tired of people taking about bullying!!! This is not a new problem!!! Since the beginning of time, there have been bullies!!!! Bullying should be dealt with accordingly, but I just cannot understand why people have been making it such a fad in recent years. Its getting irritating, seriously. lets focus more on academic achievement people!!!! "
03/8/2012:
" My child was bullied last year because he is a "special needs" child. The students don't understand special needs kids, they love to pick on them and my son believes everything people say, he is very naive. I have tried to tell him that if he has problems in school to talk to someone he trusts. So far this school year we have had no problems. I for one am going to sit down with him and we are going to watch it together. "
03/8/2012:
"How are adults supposed to stop it? Kids will be kids...! Teach them to ignore it or fight... those are the only options. "
03/8/2012:
"This IS as truthful, disturbing and as important a film as the documentary, "Race to Nowhere." Adults NEVER SEE bullying, and when they do it is somehow marginalized. We need to TEACH our children how to treat other human beings, rather than just look the other way. Please help change the rating so that teenagers can see this film. Thank you. "
03/8/2012:
"It is typical of school officials in Radcliff Ky to cover their collective backsides. "
03/8/2012:
"I look forward to seeing this documentary; the topic is just that important (the portion about the suicide alone makes this clear). Regarding the "AT NO POINT" comment," I'm not sure if the it was religious-based, but I believe that people should exercise judgment and review matters before speaking on them (Proverbs 18:13). If you watch the film beforehand, you may find that the R rating was not justified in the first place. If, after the fact, you feel the same way -then you have greater legs upon which to stand. We sometimes allow emotionalism and "holier-than-thou-ism" to trump reason and logic (and I say this as a very conservative Christian who very much dislikes foul language but who recognises that the Lord walked amongst "the worst of the worse" to minister unto them)." "
03/8/2012:
"GreatSchools' recommendation that children see this movie, based on the lack of awareness of adults, is ironically naive and irresponsible. Children are exposed to things they should not be exposed to, and adults need to be educated on how to intervene and help and listen. Children, themselves, should not as a result, however, be required to be exposed to this on a level that is shocking and frightening and requires a level of maturity to handle. This recommendation flies in the face of all childcare standards and wisdom. Seriously, what were you thinking? "
03/7/2012:
"This happened to my son for over 2 years till he put a stop to it. The teachers and the schools administrators are the problem. They know what goes on and don't do any thing about it. Mostly because they can't. They have no recourse against the bullies because of thier own decisions about discipline that they made in the past. Teachers are scared too. My neice got a degree in teaching and quit her 3rd year due to threats from students. My 2 sons in middle school saw a student hit avery large teacher in the face and he was back in school the next day. The system has to be changed.The schools don't own our kids. We are the reason they get a paycheck. The change has to come from the parents not the administration. "
03/7/2012:
"I will definitely be seeing this film. My children were terribly bullied and even sexually assauted and the school didn't want to hear about it, or investigate, and wanted to brush it under the rug. I am glad they made this movie. The world needs a rude awakening about what is really going on in our schools. Parents need to start parenting and school officials need to take a stand and stop being afraid to do something about it. Doing the right thing isn't always the smoothest past, in fact it usually isn't but it is worth it. You could be saving someone's life. Thank you for this article. "
03/7/2012:
"Re: "AT NO POINT in time will it ever be okay to allow children to attend an "R" rated movie, for any purpose, for any reason", I beg to differ. The ratings were based on the swearing, and the fact that the ratings board didn't get that the film's content was much more urgent than the rating makes me wonder about the rating system in general. Regarding pandering to the filmmakers? This is a documentary, not a Spielberg production. Low budget and shot from the heart, about a topic that is largely swept under the rug until something horrible happens to one of our children. By all means, I want to see it, and if I feel my son can absorb it at his age (9) I will have him see it, too. I'm not going to let some ratings system tell me what is inappropriate. BULLYING is inappropriate. In response to the statement: "If your child is being bullied, GO TO SCHOOL WITH THEM!" Please explain how a parent can go to school with their child? We can drop them off and pick them up, and at times observe, but I don't know any school that allows parents to stay by the sides of their children for the entire day. The bottom line is to keep a very open communication with your children. As the mother of a bullied child, I refused to accept the answers of the staff, who refused to believe my son was the target of a group of bullies. After a couple of months in this environment, I removed my child from the school and enrolled him in another elementary, where he's a happy, healthy 9 year old again. If you don't get the answer you want, go to any lengths to find it. "
03/6/2012:
"I would like to respond to the comment below. You seem to believe that movie rating is done by GOD or some other infallible entity. I would like to remind you that they are just people, applying a very square set of guidelines written by yet another set of people. I'd rather exercise my right to review and decide what my kids should or should not be exposed too, instead of following their rating recommendations blindly. I will view this movie first, and unless something really inappropriate is shown, I will watch it again with my 11 and 13 year olds and we´ll have a nice and healthy discussion on this topic afterwards. 03/5/2012: "AT NO POINT in time will it ever be okay to allow children to attend an "R" rated movie, for any purpose, for any reason, no matter how explosive the subject matter may be! Shame on you "Great Schools.org!" "
03/6/2012:
"This is the very reason i have my kid in private Catholic school, i will sacrifice my 5K a year to send my kid in a safe, loving & God fearing environment where their focus is education and not about "issues" like this. "
03/6/2012:
"I think it's the School and the Parents Responsibility! We as parents need to work with the schools and TRY to avoid these situations. "
03/6/2012:
"I couldn't watch this trailer without crying. I don't think I would be able to make it through the movie. I am afraid for my son to face physical violence, for my daughter to face verbal violence. For the person who commented that Great SChools shouldn't recommend an R rated movie, you are very wrong. As stated in the article, Hunger Games is rated PG, with much physical violence. Bully has a few swear words and it gets an R? The motion picture ratings board is a joke, in fact a documentary called 'This Film Is Not Yet Rated' discusses how bad it is. I commend any parent who is willing to see this movie, and who will take their children to see it. "
03/6/2012:
"I'm sorry that I have to disagree with the parent who began the comment with "AT NO POINT"...why does this movie deserve an R rating? Why shouldn't parents allow their children to see a movie where the subject matter is reaching epidemic proportions. Why does a 9, 10,11 yr old child decide that the best thing to do when someone is being bullied is to commit suicide? How do they decide that? How is that they are using that as their only choice? Whatever happened to children being children? It's not based on a rating? The language that is represented in the movie is very real. The children hear it everyday even when you are around. It's everywhere you can't hide from it. I would love to have the benefit of accompanying my child to school everyday, however even you have to admit that it's realistically impossible. If you have that luxury, you are indeed very fortunate! My son was bullied and it tore me apart how these other children were planning on doing to my son ! and it took a lot of control not to retaliate, not against the children but to the parents. If you want to wait until they can "clean it up" for you because you don't approve of the language, that's your right. If you have the ability to stay with your children everyday then congratulations. However please know and understand that this problem will not stop because of a language issue but it will continue because some adults won't believe that it can happen to them and God forbid that it does, I for one believe that every parent & child should see this movie. To see the harmful effects that it has on families and friends of the involved. The see the devastation and know that this could've have avoided had someone said something! Concerned about an "R" rating should be the least of your concerns. "
03/6/2012:
"I read this article and the tears fell. My early life and 3 of my 4 children were subjected to bullying. Bullying by a teacher and by schoolmates. My oldest daughter figured that the worst of her school age bullies would back down with the threat of violence. She avoided what should be the last of choices until her first 3 weeks in the 10th grade of high school. One fight and they left her alone, but then the school faculty practically wrote her off. They did not care what had been building for years. My oldest son is autistic, but is social enough to outwardly want to interact with other people. I suspect that he was abused for years by schoolmates and finally slapped in the face so hard that the hand print stayed on his face for a day. Who slapped him? A teacher. Despite a report from a mandated reporter (The afterschool program bus driver), the teacher's colliegues said that nothing happened. My husband and I were stonewalled by the district (similar to the infamous sexual molestation case at a local elementary school). The police refused to do anything about it as well. We hired an attorney and made the district pay for an expensive private school of our choosing until our son was 22 years old. Our youngest daughter was tormented from 3rd grade until the first semester of high school. I cannot figure how and why the lights went out of my girl's eyes at times, why she begged for me to go on field trips with her, why she was by herself for most of her existence at her elementary school, why she insisted on being with the teachers during lunch time? She never described what her class mates did to her. Mind you, this was from the 3rd grade to the time she left at the 5th grade. She was still strong enough to go for what she wanted, getting several science awards and getting dance roles at school productions. In middle school, things were no better, with the same scenario but adding the fluctuating hormones of adolescence. My husband and I would not tolerate any more bullying upon our daughter and we had meetings with the school administrators. They seemed cooperative and empathetic at the first meeting and even suspected the usual group of female tormentors. By the sec! ond meeting, that same group of administrators claimed that there was no such "mean girl" group. We hit the ceiling. Knowing that they had better do something, the administrators promised sure that our daughter's days at middle school would be better. Meanwhile, our daughter developed a tougher exterior, but the inside was bleeding. She is now in high school and judging from the previous grade levels, she was a mix of extreme highs and lows. The high school that our daughter attends has an eclectic mix of students, many who beat to a different drum. some of the older ones took her under their wing. This news made me very happy. Our daughter also experienced extreme lows because some of her ex-school mates fro elementary and middle schools also went to this high school. They started the usual mental/emotional abuse, which made our daughter very depressed. I was ready to fight, but something happened. The new friends became much more important than the old bullies. our daught! er also confronted them. I can't say that things are 100% bett! er, but she is no longer so miserable that she wanted to kill herself, as she felt at times since she was in the 3rd grade. She didn't tell me how depressed she was until nearly the end of the 8th grade year. Right now, she says, " I don't like people. Aside from the people that I cherish , there is nothing in this world that is worth a fight from me to stay a part of. When it is my time to go, I'll have no regrets." Our daughter says this on her low days and i suspect it's never far from her high days. A statement from the daughter whom I swore would "walk between the raindrops". Our 4th child has physical/developmental disabilities and does not seem to have any bullies. He is happy, but very sheltered by everyone who takes care of him whether at school, home or elsewhere. My husband and I make sure of that. If something happened to him, I might just be in jail right now. This movie was a long time coming. I think that is should be mandatory for every teacher, school administrator, parent and student from 2nd grade forward. . . . . .. When I was a child, my school days were spent in isolation when I wasn't shadowing a teacher who might protect me. I'd run home nearly blinded by my tears, running past my mother to slam the door and stay there until dinner. I never told her what happened on a daily basis. I still think of those days, feeling sorrow for my self and now for not protecting my children enough. School is supposed to be a happy and productive time. I hope that the viewing of this movie will be a start. "
03/6/2012:
"My 7 year old child was bullied at a Magnet school. After repeat complaints to the teacher, the Magnet coordinator and the Principal of the school, I was told that they never saw anything resembling bullying. The coordinator said she actually spied on the kids during recess, and the boys were "just being boys". His teacher began her own form of bullying, saying my son was lying and telling him "it never happened" whenever he would try to tell her he was being hit, pushed, stepped on, etc. It was affecting his schoolwork, he was listless, crying all the time. We pulled him out of that school as fast as we could, but I'm still very angry about it. How dare them! "
03/5/2012:
"Yes, it's the adults in the schools fault. They have 30 or more students to deal with--how could they not know when a student is begin bullied. Those parents with one or two kids at home shouldn't be expected to listen to and ask questions of their children. Lift the guilt off parents for not knowing what's happening in their child's life and push it of on the schools like everything else. Kids are bullied, school's to blame; kids smoke, school's to blame; teens get pregnant, school's to blame; kids drink, school's to blame. And the list goes on and on. Schools are to blame for everything and parents are excused from their responsibility for raising the children they bring into the world. Thank you for sharing this movie which is obviously based 100% on facts and not expressing the opinion of any particular groups. "
03/5/2012:
"Yes, it's the adults in the schools fault. They have 30 or more students to deal with--how could they not know when a student is begin bullied. Those parents with one or two kids at home shouldn't be expected to listen to and ask questions of their children. Lift the guilt off parents for not knowing what's happening in their child's life and push it of on the schools like everything else. Kids are bullied, school's to blame; kids smoke, school's to blame; teens get pregnant, school's to blame; kids drink, school's to blame. And the list goes on and on. Schools are to blame for everything and parents are excused from their responsibility for raising the children they bring into the world. Thank you for sharing this movie which is obviously based 100% on facts and not expressing the opinion of any particular groups. "
03/5/2012:
"The correct title of this film is "The Bully Project" "
03/5/2012:
"I am a child and adolscent psychiatrist and see the effects of bullying on kids more often than I would hope. I am thankful to GreatSchools for notifying parents and educators about this movie and reviewing it. I plan on taking my children to see it and hope other parents will do the same. I agree that it is so important for us as adults to be as aware of our children's experiences as possible, despite not being there physically. More importantly children need to know that they can tell an adult about their experiences, good or bad, and receive the help they need, not judgement. "
03/5/2012:
"REALITY (and critical thinking) CHECK... I REMOVED my child from the public school system after I FINALLY realized that the school system employees use many of the bullying strategies, methods and tactics! "
03/5/2012:
"Thank you so much for posting this. It's really important that we as parents KNOW what's happening in the schools, and that we find the truth, whatever it may be. "
03/5/2012:
" every parent and child should read this article. We need to work together and put a stop to bullying before someone chid take their life again. "
03/5/2012:
"I am definitely going to take my child to see this movie. In elementary school my child was bullied and I didn't know about it until later in the day, when another child brought the incident to my attention. My child was too afraid to say anything because he thought he would get into more trouble. I went directly to the principal's office only to be told that she wasn't available that day and what to matters worse, the assistant principal made it clear that the incident was out of his hands and I would have to wait until the next day to speak to the principal. Long story short, the situation was dealt with but without the presence of the parents, who refused to show for the consultation. I make it my business to find out how school went each day with my child. And I DO NOT accept, "oh it was okay". After that incident it is very important to me that I try to know everything and to let my child know that it is okay to talk to an adult should he be informed that some! thing bad might happen. We will see together regardless of the rating, although I do believe an R rating is a bit extreme considering the flow of today's movies with more sex, violence and drug use. "
03/5/2012:
"Bullies made my son feel he wasn't trying hard enough, shouldn't listen to his parents since they are not perfect, exposed him to raw You Tube footage of children being abused in recruitment efforts of paramilitary people in Africa without taking time to share how government and nonprofit organizations are taking power away from people like that, stood near him to attract attention in his direction in a class he had been embarrassed, gave so much work to him he became sleep deprived, sick for a month at a time, and missed time with friends on campouts. These bullies weren't even children. When I addressed it through triangulated emails so several people would be aware, there was no apology or action taken other than my son coming home nearly shut down and unable to do homework but not crying for help either. His father said to these little incidents, to not overreact. Now my son has lost it, but values life and our faith enough to not end his own, but he doesn't feel saf! e in our affluent suburban neighborhood and had to move away. I cannot believe adults would take what they know and use it to create sustained stress with traumatic events to hurt a child like this. The morale even inside a marriage is low when there is such a disparity between understanding in what harms a child. Bullying destroys the fabric of society. "
03/5/2012:
"My son was hazed in high school. This went on for two years, and we reported 2 of the incidents (there were more...these are the ones that we knew of). Every time, the instructors/administration would tell us it would be dealt with. Every time, it went ignored. The last time was the last straw. My son spoke out about everything and everyone, and now we are filing lawsuits. We had to change schools for his safety but he isn't afraid anymore. He even got messages on his Facebook page from people he didn't know telling him that they had been hazed too but never had the guts to say anything. They thanked him for being their voice. It really does take only one person to speak out to make a difference. "
03/5/2012:
"How do we sign the petition to get the rating changed? "
03/5/2012:
"Thank you. I'll make sure to see it, maybe even with my son. "
03/5/2012:
"Will this movie be in theaters ? How can I find where it is showing "
03/5/2012:
"There is currently a petition going on at Change.org, trying to repeal the "R" rating and instead labeling it "PG-13." Here is the link to the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/mpaa-dont-let-the-bullies-win-give-bully-a -pg-13-instead-of-an-r-rating Please sign it and spread the word. "
03/5/2012:
"Please be advised that there is another movie titled "Bully" released in 2002 that is totally inappropriate for children, and even teenagers. Take my word for it. I'm not a prude. "
03/5/2012:
"Bravo for calling to attention the adults so consumed with our own affairs that we dont see our children anymore. i just hope that the film is seen by more than the few that have perspecticve, or just look in the mirror from time tio time. BTW, Im also in the "End to Nowhere" movie crowd, which supports the end to the endless pressure to perform, sleepless nights ,and endless homework, et ctc. And I live in Washigton DC, the epicenter of competition!!! And ugly.... "
03/5/2012:
"If I as a grandparent feel the wrath of the bullying against my grandchild, I can only imagine how he feels. The principal at our school feels that 10 year olds are too young to hear a speaker on the subject when the speakers son committed suicide at 10. No help there. Yes, I'm fearful. Fifth grade, he'll be out of the school soon. Somebody elses problem. "
03/5/2012:
"It's about time there was a film made about bullying. I am an example of someone who was bullied. It still affects me today. I have very low self-esteem and other problems from being bullied. I was bullied in grade school, especially 7-9th grade. I am so happy that I have such a wonderful family who really loves me. "
03/5/2012:
"Absolutely! It is a great shame that the documentary is R instead of PG-13. The movie producer tried hard to change the rating so that it would be more accessible to kids. Despite the R rating, parents should absolutely let their kids see it. The "R" rating is due to strong language - language that kids already know. The benefit of seeing the documentary will far outweigh any cost of hearing "strong language". "
03/5/2012:
"AT NO POINT in time will it ever be okay to allow children to attend an "R" rated movie, for any purpose, for any reason, no matter how explosive the subject matter may be! Shame on you "Great Schools.org!" Shame on you for suggesting we should ignore the "R" rating! It is there for a reason! And as parents we should appreciate that there is at least some sort of WARNING in place with the rating system. "R" means restricted, for a REASON! BULLYING does cause suicide, and never ending tragic emotional turmoil, wherever it takes place. As parents WE have the ability to get seriously involved with our children and talk and teach exactly what our child should never do to any other human being, ever! If you suspect your child is being a bully, GO TO SCHOOL WITH YOUR CHILD! Would they dare to bully with you standing right next to them! If your child is being bullied, GO TO SCHOOL WITH THEM! Let the bully know that you are not going to stand by and let it continue to happen to your child. Think your child will be humiliated that you are there? Think again, how humiliated, (and terrified), are they already with the taunting they receive when you the parent, (or a teacher) are out of sight... This movie will not tell the children anything that they don't already know, or anything that they are not already living! PARENTS we have to be the ones to teach, and interveen each and every day. No "R" rated movie c! an teach your child better than you the parent, can! Realize bullys learn their behavior from a variety of sources, including "R" RATED MOVIES! Don't pander to the film makers that want to expose our children to things that should be taught by a parent! "
03/5/2012:
"I have 12 grandchildren, each one the apple of my eye. I read about bullying, look at my own and wonder … No! No one of those could ever … or could they? Somebody's grandchildren are doing it. I would like to see that R-rated film as compulsory for all parents and grandparents "
03/5/2012:
"Just reading this article makes my stomach hurt. I would want to see the movie first without my childrend and then decide if I want them to see it. For me, I am more worried about my children getting bullied. We have already had several incidents with bullying. We are fortunate to live where we do and to have such great schools as they have acted on every incident as if it were the only one. But we were in a school that just could not handle the amount of problems it had. We saw that if we left our child there she would become completely lost and exposed to things you would not expect you child to see. We pulled her and placed her in a private school until we found the schools we are in now. It is sad that families have to uproot themselves and move simply because of issues at their kid's school. Thankfully though, we had a choice. "
03/5/2012:
"Does the movie tell the story of the country that it takes place in, the biggest global bully of all? It sounds good, but I wonder how we can take what happens on our playgrounds out of the context of our "blow their brains out" foreign policy....and many of our national and state politicians with the same mentality. When we spend so much energy on making our soldiers our heros--nothing against them, mind you, but they ARE killing other people for a living--I for one am not surprised at the amount of bullying we see. I look forward to seeing it, though, and appreciate your covering it, although "this is no Michael Moore movie" is completely gratuitous and makes me feel that I am not supposed to be your audience. "
03/5/2012:
"Thats because the kids who bully are tought it by their parents who think it was cool to pick on someone smaller then them. This has been around a long time. It is not just kids who bully it also teachers and paries who get up in kids faces and tell them that they are no good, and they think that it is the right thing to do. You don't just have bulliyng just at kids, your boss can also be a bully when he yelling at you and you are to scared to stand up for yourself. Most bully think it is fine to do this because that how it was thought to them. "
03/5/2012:
"When I was in middle school I remember my bully locking the door to the room where the vending machines were just after I walked in. Him and a friend of his beat me, never hitting my face. How I didn't get broken ribs from that incident I will never know. I'm 35 and I will remember how the room smelt that day and how each blow they placed felt. Bullying happens and teachers don't listen and parents don't listen. I almost brought a gun to school after the incident I mentioned. I thought Columbine would change things. But until teachers, school officials and parents take it serious, it won't change. "
03/5/2012:
"Based on this article, it seems to me, if they bleeped out the language, it might not have gotten an "R" rating. So if the whole point of the movie is to have it be seen by parents and children, why not change that? "
03/5/2012:
"I will definitely let my 11year old watch this movie. It's important to raise concern about this issue "
03/5/2012:
"I will definitely go to see this film, with my 11 and 16 year old children. I will admit, I am one of the parents who don't realize that bullying goes on to that extent in our schools. For that, I will consider myself, and my children, lucky that we haven't had to deal with that. I would love to know what child psychologists believe is the cause for the bullying. While I'm sure it has always been a presence in any society, it seems so much more severe nowadays. Or has it always been so severe, but with the internet and quicker sources of information, that we just now know about much more of it? "
03/5/2012:
"When and where can we rent this movie? "
03/5/2012:
"When and where can we rent this movie? "
03/5/2012:
"I agree that this film should be a PG 13. The F bomb is in common use in middle school and the busses. And believe it or not in many elemantary schools and busses. The goal is to help the masses address a MAJOR issue that is being overlooked. I'm a pediatric nurse practitioner with over 20 years experience and we are definately seeing more bullying. My 11 and 13 year old will see this film. As they also saw Cyber Bullying. "
03/5/2012:
"I feel that we definitely need this movie 'Bully" to be seen by all school children. Having a "R" rating sounds ridiculous. We watch TV in my house and i cannot tell you how many times i change the channel due to the inappropriate material! If they are worried about the "F" bomb, all i have to say is your kids already know the word. Let's worry about how kids treat eachother ! let's stop abuse!!!! "
03/5/2012:
"This article should go out to all school districts, in particular the administrators, so that at least one person at school would be informed. It seems that many school personnel from administrators to teachers just seem to shrug off bullying as if it does not exist at their school until something as unfortunate as the Chardon shooting happens. There has to be a way to be able to reach out to the school districts. Better yet, why doesn't the Education Secretary, Mr. Arne Duncan, go on national TV and talk about this issue publicly and reach out to millions of Americans, parents and students? If there can be advertisements about alcohol and condoms why not commercials about anti-bullying? "
03/5/2012:
"I would like to hear how it goes with your kids since my daughters are 10 and 12. "
03/5/2012:
"this article specks of nothing but the core turth what happens in schools everyday, i worked as a teachers aid, when i talk to teacher /princeipal about a particualar behaviore i was never taken seriously. i also believe this is the resons for gangs which have become a huge problem in our community, this is the only way they feel are "protected". "
03/5/2012:
"People, parents and school employees, need to be aware. It should be mandatory training for all education employees who deal with children. "
03/5/2012:
"Thank you thank you! This is a film, or proof rather, I prayed for as a child. Then, for myself and, now as I watch my children go through the same thing. "
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