Everyone gets picked on at some point in their lives. Even bullies. It’s an experience we can all relate to. Some more than others, as demonstrated in the powerful documentary that is the talk of the nation right now, Bully.
While bullying has moved beyond the classroom today and into cyberworld and cell phones, Bully the movie focuses on the torment that young people face every day they step on their school bus and go about their normal school day.
We meet 12-year-old Alex, who is punched, stuck with pencils and verbally abused on the bus every morning. Worse, a few of his bullies have taken to strangling him at school.
And then there’s 14-year-old, Ja’Meya who decided she had had enough and brought a gun on the bus to scare her tormentors. It landed her in jail facing multiple felony counts.
Kelby is 16 and had recently come out as a lesbian in her small, mid-western town. She has been completely ostracized by her peers and even some of her teachers.
In some of the most heartbreaking scenes of the movie, we hear the stories of families who have lost a loved one by suicide due to bullying and are now fighting to make a difference for others struggling to be heard by anyone who will listen to their plight.
It isn’t just the bullies you will get mad at in this film, it’s the schools too. It seems the common answer among school administrators whenever a parent asks for something to be done is “kids will be kids,” and “we can’t be everywhere at once.” Very little is really ever done.
Why should you see this film?
Bullying destroys lives; the lives of the victims and their families. Rather than knowing that intellectually, see the film and know it in your heart. If everyone decided to take a stand against bullying, lives could be saved or at the very least changed. Including yours’.
What can you do?
- Stop bullying when you see it happening. Let the bully know it’s not cool to pick on other kids.
- Tell a teacher. The more teachers become aware of the problem, the more likely it is something will be done. But, nothing will ever happen if the incidents aren’t documented.
- Befriend the boy or girl who is being picked on. Invite them to sit with you at lunch or next to you in class. Be the example.
- If you are the one being bullied, stand up for yourself. Bullies like an easy target. The easier you make it for them to bully you, the more they will do it. Challenge them and they will find something better to do than mess with you.
- See the movie with a parent and open a dialogue. Your mom or dad is your best advocate and wants you to confide in them.
Chris Bird is a designer, WAHM of one and pilot’s wife living in Colorado. She writes about family travel as Standby Traveling Mom on TravelingMom.com as well as her many misadventures and life in between at MamaBirdsBlog.com. Follow her on Twitter.