I had the opportunity to attend a premiere of the movie, “The Bully Project.” It was showing at the Chicago International Film festival this week. I can’t begin to put into words the emotion that this evoked. This raw documentary film follows the life of 5 different families as they traverse through the muddy waters of bullying. They were all from different states and had a different story to tell. The one thing that bound them all together was the challenge of dealing with a system that has yet to master the art of dealing with a bully. Some of the common things themes that ran through each story were a very unhappy child, a school district who refused to acknowledge the existence of bullying, and the mountain that must be crossed to help a child feel successful with life when his/her daily life is constantly telling them otherwise.
Each bullying story I hear or see has its own nuances. However, so many of the feelings and emotions are exactly the same. The parents feeling the hopelessness of fighting a system that refuses to listen to their concern and pain. Not only that, but they listen as administration make excuses about why it isn’t something they can’t stop or won’t even try to stop, or worse, defend the bully or belittle the target even further. The students endure hell day after day with no one to step in on their behalf. In some cases, it is even the teachers who are bullies in addition to the students.
I keep thinking of a quote from one of the Harry Potter movies.
When they find out that Voldemort is back, Dumbledore tells the
students, “The time has come to choose between what is right and what is easy.” I feel like we have reached that same precipice with bullying. It is time to choose to do what is right. We, as a society, have taken the easy way for far too long. We need to band together and call for our schools to do what is right. We must encourage other parents to support the schools and give them the power to do what they need to do to put a stop to bullying.
In the coming days, I hope to do a write-up of each one of the stories that were told in this movie. I have too many individual thoughts on each story to put them into one post. The Bully Project is a very real look at bullying and how ineffectively bullying is dealt with by some school. Of course, schools do exist that deal with it well, but until all schools handle bullying with the seriousness it deserves, the fight for no bullying must continue. I hope that everyone who reads this will go out and see the movie. I hope that once you do, it will move you to make a difference for the millions of kids who daily endure the hateful words and actions of their peers. More to come…