Sunday, June 9, 2013

BULLY

"Bully" is a documentary film about bullying in U.S. schools.  It follows five kids who get bullied every day.  The film also shows interviews of parents who have lost children to suicide as a result of bullying.

I highly recommend that all teachers, administrators, and parents watch this documentary.  

It was a powerful film that opens viewers' eyes to the widespread issue of bullying.  As a teacher, it broke my heart to see students getting physically and verbally bullied.  Some of them kept it all inside, but some kids told their teachers and parents of their hurt.  The part that made me most upset, though, was hearing these students cry for help, and seeing the administrators and teachers do nothing to stop the bullies.  In one girl's situation, her teachers made fun of her for being gay.

Parents whose children committed suicide as a result of bullying shared their tragic stories.  They are dedicated to making their children's voices heard.  They have been trying to raise awareness of bullying, and have shared their concerns with administrators and teachers.  One school's response to bullying was, "Kids will be kids." and "We can't always protect kids from what other kids say and do."

The parents of a boy who committed suicide shared their concerns at a Town Hall meeting.  A meeting where no school representatives showed up...  The parents said that when they send their kids on the bus, they are sending them to a place where they want their children to be as safe and protected as they would be at home.

Another boy was being called "bitch", getting his face repeatedly pushed into the bus seat, and getting threats from another kid who said he would "f*** him up so bad".  Film makers were concerned for this boy's safety that they showed the footage to his parents.  His parents went to the school's principal, who made herself look like a fool at how she handled the situation.  She said that she was sad this was happening, but she has ridden that bus route before and those kids "are as good as gold".  Her ignorance and unwillingness to act on the situation made me cringe.

The film did a good job of raising awareness of bullying in our nation's schools.  As a teacher, I have to think to myself, "What can I do to prevent bullying in my classroom and in my school?"  Many teachers are guilty of "shrugging it off" when a student tells them they got picked on.  We must set up our classrooms to be safe places for all students.  We need to teach tolerance and acceptance.  We need to make all students feel like they are a welcomed member of the classroom community.

What can you do to prevent bullying?

Learn about The Bully Project here.  You can get your own copy of BULLY here.

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

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