Bully: A Must Watch Film

This month, I’m going to post on some eye-opening movies I’ve seen lately.

Bully, a documentary, follows the stories of five families impacted by bullying. This movie brought up a lot of emotion for me. Things have most definitely escalated since I was in school, because I don’t remember kids killing themselves after months–or even years–of being bullied. And I definitely do not remember school officials turning a blind eye to bullying. When I was in school, kids went to the principal for bad behavior and the long march to the office was a shameful thing. Nowadays, some principals act like the bad students’ friends (I’ve seen it as a substitute teacher). Teachers and administrators must stand up to bullies. Parents need to step up and talk to their kids about buHold on...Xavier and Camillellying.

In fourth grade, I started a new school and at recess, on my first day, a girl grabbed the ball I was playing with from my hands, kicked it in the street, and laughed in my face. That moment has really stuck with me. At times throughout my school life, especially in middle school, I remember different moments where bullying affected my life: I was the target, others were the target, and, at times, I was the bully. I hate to acknowledge it, but I did say some mean things or choose bully friends in order to try to fit in.

In the movie, participants in a rally against bullying wore bracelets that read, “I AM SOMEONE.” Bullying only occurs because people have made the determination that “the other” is not a person; “the other” is a freak, a fag, a weirdo, a non-person. If we teach our kids nothing else, let us teach them that every person is a person.

You can watch the movie on Netflix. Or to make your voice heard, join the Unwritten Letters Project, an organization started by our very own Busy Lady’s sister.

10 Comments

  • Great post, Spirit Lady, yeah bullying has definitely escalated, and sadly it still exists. We had such a problem with Bullying last year at my school that our theatre department put on a production of the “Bully Plays” to try to raise awareness. Nowadays going to the principle’s office in highschool isn’t shameful– its normal. I find that really sad. Great post, though, I should definitely check out “Bully”.

    • Little Lady, I’m glad your school recognized the problem and chose to put on that play. Hopefully it made the students think, too.

  • I was bullied in school. It was terrible! My bully would always attack me on the bus, and of course the bus driver did nothing. It was an aweful feeling not knowing if you would be made fun of that day or not. No kid should ever have to go through that. I teach my kids not to bully and to stick up for those that are being bullied.

    As an adult – I do not put up with bullying. It happens in the corporate world…still! I am amazed, but it does.

    My sister is a huge advocate of Anti-Bullying, Alex Boles, and started The Unwritten Letters Project years ago. Some of the letter are truely heartbreaking and so real. I would read them, let your teens read them, show them they are not alone.

    • I do the same with my little guy. He knows to not put up with bullying against himself or others. And The Unwritten Letters Project is a great resource for everyone: teachers, parents, students.

  • Do you think it’s on the rise more than when we were little? I can remember a boy who would bully the kids on the bus. He was bigger than most of us and one time I’d had it and I kicked him right .. well… where it is most sensitive. He quit and my mom said, “Good for you!” But that was pretty mild compared to what kids put up with today. I don’t remember it damaging me; it was annoying. Seems like the level of severity has increased really causing kids stress. Sad.

    • I think it might depend on who you ask. I can think in my elementary school/high school, there were a couple of kids who were just outcasts, picked on, it was awful for them. So if you asked them, I’m sure they would say it was pretty bad.

      Then there were kids like me who had a distinguishing characteristic that kids liked to pick on (I WAS SO TALL!), and sometimes it bothered me and sometimes it didn’t. But it didn’t make my life hell. I had a lot of friends and what could I do about being tall anyway?

      I think there are more ways to bully today. Bullies can reach into the home with Internet, cell phones, etc, whereas when we were younger, it happened at school and maybe at the football game and that’s it. You didn’t have to worry about some bully getting on your Facebook page and writing something nasty. So, I don’t know. I do think it is worse today. I’m curious to see what others think.

      • I agree, Sandwich Lady. I was one of those kids who was in the middle…got picked on for: being the new girl, wearing glasses and braces, being teacher’s pet. But it wasn’t every day and I had friends, so I felt supported and loved. But I do remember those kids who were the social outcasts and had to deal with it day in and day out. That kind of stuff has got to stop.

        • I think you’re right. I think the cyber factor, feeling anonymous, has really changed the game. I think it’s easier to feel insulated from the consequences. Blech. Makes me sad for these kiddos.

    • I think the big difference is that school officials don’t step in and parents of bullies aren’t held accountable/don’t care. My brother, who is nine years younger than me, struggled with a bully who would push him into his locker and hit him so hard it would leave bruises. My mom spoke with the principal on numerous occasions and nothing was done. So my mom told my brother to hit back. He did and the bully never bothered him again.

      But, get this, the principal was ready to suspend the bully AND my brother for fighting. My mom said, “He was only defending himself. You all did nothing this whole time! Do I need to threaten to sue the school district for not protecting the safety of my child, then?” That made the principal back down. The bully got suspended. My brother did not.

  • […] highlight some movies that really got the wheels turning for me. In previous weeks, I highlighted Bully, which scrutinizes a common social problem and makes us think about how we can deal with bullying. I […]

So, what do you think?