I get enraged when I think about the bullying crisis in our schools today.
It is out of control. Completely out of control.
I’m disgusted and furious when I watch the trailer below. But I’m also embarrassed when I think back to my own childhood. Because I wasn’t innocent and likely you weren’t either. All school children are involved in bullying… they might not play the role of “bully” but they’ve all played the role of “bystander” more than once.
The instance in my own life that comes to mind when I think about bullying was in sixth grade at my local public school. Janice and I had just switched to that school in September after attending a private Christian school since first grade.
Several months into the school year, Janice and I were amongst the small inner gang of “popular girls” when I became fed up with the behaviour of our “leader”.
This girl who reigned as the unstated most-popular-girl held the circle of girls in terror as every few weeks she decided to outcast one girl for some number of days.
She led the others making up nasty song lyrics about the ousted girl and ensured nobody talked to her. After several days, she’d settle it down and gradually the girl would become part of the gang again.
The outcasting hadn’t yet happened to Janice nor me (there is power in twos), and I wasn’t necessarily worried that it was going to happen, but I was enraged that she routinely treated her “friends” this way.
Being a bit of a leader myself, I couldn’t stand by and watch this happen. But… I did NOT handle it as I should have.
Not knowing any better, I treated fire with fire. I asked the others why they allowed this to happen when she had no right to bully anyone like that. I suggested we simply do the same thing to her and oust her from the group.
We did. We bullied the bully and it hurt her. Did we teach her the lesson? Maybe. After a few months of excluding her, we gradually let her back in the group after summer break and I never saw her bully anyone again the following year. Did we do it the right way? No, we didn’t.
Without meaning to, I had become a bully and didn’t realize it for years. I still feel guilty about it to this day.
But how could I have known any better?
The fact is parents, teachers, authors, script writers, politicians, and everyone else who has the opportunity to influence children MUST TALK about the problem and the solutions.
Kids cannot be left to solve these problems on their own. They do not know how. I did not know how. You did not know how. Our children DO NOT know how.
We must collectively recognize the crisis of bullying. We must talk about it. We must create solutions. Now. Because lives are being ruined and lives are being ended.
Please throw all your support behind The Bully Project and most importantly start talking to YOUR children about what is happening and how they can be part of the solution.
This stunning statistic is at the heart of Bully, the new documentary film confronting the bullying crisis in America.
The movie is playing in New York and Los Angeles and opens nationwide on April 13th, and with your support we can make sure the film reaches the kids and communities that need to see it the most.
UPDATE: The DVD release date is Feb 12, 2013.
Here’s an idea…
Purchase a copy, watch it with your kids and then consider donating it to your school’s library or public library so that more parents, teachers and kids watch it.
What About You?
We want to hear about YOUR bullying experiences.
- Were you bullied as a child?
- Did you ever bully someone?
- Do you remember being a bystander and not knowing how to react?
- Have your children been bullied or bullied?
- What have you said to your children about bullying?
Please share your stories in the comments below. We must TALK about bullying to stop it.