The Bully movie is a dark film that portrays the life of 5 kids who are bullied at school. From the beginning the director does not hold back on releasing footage that makes the emotions of any individual run wild.
You start off watching home videos of a little boy having a good time on camera. The next scene is of a father talking about that boy and how he was a good kid. He goes on to point out how he was being bullied at school and as a result the boy took his own life. Later we get to see the closet in which the boy hung himself.
The movie did paint school administrators as weak and unwilling to put a stop to bullying. Even when questioning kids that were reported to be picking on another students, one of the school counselors told the student that if he continues to misbehave that she was going to report it and put it in his disciplinary folder. The response came off comic as many in the theater chuckled as if they were in unison for wanting a harsher action toward the kid. When kids know the consequences for their behavior is weak and tolerate, they weigh out those consequences and decide that getting in trouble is okay. They must be told how they can really be reprimanded.
For example, one of the girls in the film decided that she was going to take her mom’s gun to school and ended up pulling the gun out on the bus and waved it as the teens who were picking on her. Well her actions caused her to get 40+ accounts of kidnapping because of that incident. She ended up having all the charged dropped but she could’ve received a sentence of over 100 years behind bars because of that.
Bullying is psychological, it messes with your mind. It makes you do some crazy things. It’s no wonder that 71% of school shooters were bullied at school. Even in the film, one of the main kids said his friends choke him, call him the “B” word and his reaction is to cover for them and say that they’re just playing around. He became immune to bullying. We definately don’t want our students to think that they deserve to be hit or worse that it’s their fault that kids pick on them.
What the Bully movie is missing
The movie does a good job at showing the problem among kids and school administrators and city officials. What the movie does not do is give a better idea of how to help students. I’m a parent and it leaves me scared out of my mind to even think about sending my child to school. In fact as I was leaving the theater I overheard a lady say, “well now I’m scared that my son is going to kill himself”. So you walk away with a feeling that if my kid is being picked on, then my kid may kill themselves.
I would’ve liked to see more about how to walk kids through bullying, how to teach kids how to respond to bullies. My biggest weapon against bullying to teaching kids how to repond to misbehavior. If we can teach kids how to respond to bullies, they will be able to stand up for themselves and others.
Instead we tell kids to intervene when they see another kid get picked on and we forget to empower and equip them on how to do so. The ending of the movie was starting to get good as it showed rallies in different citites to combat bullying but again all it did was raise the fact that kids are killing themselves, and yes it said that we need to be a voice for kids, but students need techniques on how to respond to bullies. Implementing the Golden Rule is one of the best ways in which we can show kids how to respond to bullies. My hope is that in a follow-up film, students are taught how to respond and then filmed on implementing what they learn. In the meantime, kuddos to director Lee Hirsch for raising awareness about bullying in schools. Parents, Teachers, School officials, Families, it takes all of our involvement to keep schools a safe place for children.
Here is the trailer to the movie that I recommend parents take their teens to see so they can start a conversation about bullying at their school:
If you are a school administrator, consider inviting bullying speakers to speak about bullying at school assemblies throughout the year. It’s a great way to start a campaign at school so everybody can be on the same page.