B is for Bully

Friday afternoon, the JA and I saw the movie ‘Bully.’ It is now Monday and I only now feel ready to discuss it.

Synopsis (from the movie’s Facebook page):
This year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence young people in the U.S. experience. Directed by Sundance- and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary—at its heart are those with the most at stake and whose stories each represent a different facet of this bullying crisis.

Following five kids and families over the course of a school year, the film confronts bullying’s most tragic outcomes, including the stories of two families who’ve lost children to suicide and a mother who waits to learn the fate of her 14 –year-old daughter, incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With rare access to the Sioux City Community School District, the film also gives an intimate glimpse into school busses, classrooms, cafeterias and even principles offices, offering insight into the often-cruel world of children, as teachers, administrators and parents struggle to find answers.

If you’re a loyal reader, you know that my younger brother has Asperger’s syndrome. With that in mind, my family was affected by the bullying he experienced. While we were all fortunate enough to attend private elementary, middle and high schools, there still was some bullying that occurred.

From the opening scene of the movie, I was fighting back tears. The film was intense, to say the very least. There were times when I certainly saw my brother in some of the characters. The stories were poignant and emotional. I came out of the theater emotionally exhausted, frustrated with the education system, and inspired to make a change. Even watching the trailer again for this post brought back memories of both the movie and my family life.

I honestly don’t think there was a single person in the theater that wasn’t somehow affected by the movie.

I highly recommend this movie for educators and those with children. For those of you who have been bullied or who know someone who has been affected by bullying, it might be best for you to wait to see it at home. I know I was much more affected by it than I thought I would be (and am a bit self conscious about crying in movie theaters).

For more information on bullying and information on how you can support the movement to stop this behavior, visit The Bully Project website.

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