In past blogs, we’ve written about the rise of bullying in schools and what different states and educational institutions are doing to combat this. We’ve also written about the increase in cyber bulling as it relates to the first amendment. We continue the conversation of bullying with a new documentary by Lee Hirsh that is now being released on a limited basis called “Bully”.
“Bully” is about victims, their parents and the adults who aren’t there for them. It tracks five families in four states and what their children are going through. The film tells these children’s stories, portraying both their heartbreaking vulnerability and surprising resilience. For example, there is fourteen-year-old Alex from Sioux City, Iowa who is the victim of daily teasing, humiliation, and assault on the school bus. He doesn’t tell his parents what is going on, in fact, he even sticks up for his bullies.
The movie confronts not only the cruelty of specific children but also the extent to which that cruelty is embedded in our schools and ultimately in our society as a whole. It also shows what can be done when everyone comes together.
Although “Bully” is being released on limited basis, it has already provoked discussions and articles in newspapers (on- and off-line) throughout the country. One article in the San Jose Mercury News talks about what parents should do when confronted that their child is the bully, and how difficult it is to stem the behavior. The DesMoines Register features an article about the boy Alex in the film who actually left Sioux City, Iowa after being repeatedly harassed. Sioux City has a 10-year-long anti-bullying program and plans to show the film at schools, incorporating a curriculum now under development. Other Iowa districts are also weighing use of the film as a teaching tool.
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