The new film “Bully” is playing in local theaters. This poignant documentary follows the lives of several teens in Sioux City, IA, Tuttle, OK, Yazoo County, MS, and Murray County, GA. They are repeatedly attacked, emotionally and physically, by their peers. In gripping scenes filmed in the youth’s homes, parents are often surprised to learn what their children have endured. After watching footage of their 12-year old son being choked, stabbed with pencils, and jeered on a school bus, Alex’s mom tells her husband, “Of course he never told us. He wants to be just like you and he has never seen you cry.” We watch school administrators appear absurdly naïve and ineffective when reacting to examples of bullying. Like the parents in the first half of the film, we are led to believe that the educators are good people who lack the tools for recognizing the scope of the problem and developing proactive solutions.
And yet there is hope. The film depicts the actions of parents, teens, and others who stand up once they understand the devastating consequences of bullying. They form communities that educate and empower others. In doing so, they form a symbiotic relationship with the filmmakers by putting a spotlight on cruel behavior that flourishes in the broad daylight of denial. A father of one of the teens featured in the film wears a t-shirt that reads, “Be The Change.” He becomes a powerful voice who inspires us to take local action against a national scourge. Learn more about this extraordinary film and the movement it has created at http://thebullyproject.com/indexflash.html
Be The Change. Plan to join CRG and other community partners at a symposium on bullying on Saturday, November 3rd. The all-day event is entitled, Bullying Prevention: Creating a Culture of Acceptance. Check back on our website in the coming weeks for more details or call CRG at (317) 575-9111 to learn more.
By David Parker, Ph.D.