Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, The Bully Project is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. The Bully Project follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With an intimate glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals’ offices, the film offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children. As teachers, administrators, kids and parents struggle to find answers, The Bully Project examines the dire consequences of bullying through the testimony of strong and courageous youth. Through the power of their stories, the film aims to be a catalyst for change in the way we deal with bullying as parents, teachers, children and society as a whole.
Bullying behavior has been such a focus in recent months with teen suicides being reported, ongoing discussions about social media and its impact, and from my perspective, just a general feeling that we've all finally hit the point of critical mass, where this is just not acceptable any more. Even our President has spoken out:
“[Let’s] dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It’s not,” said President Obama. “Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people. And it’s not something we have to accept. As parents and students; teachers and communities, we can take steps that will help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe” -President Barack Obama
The Bully Project is just one more movement that has begun toward that end. In these cases, the power of social media is amazing, as so many diverse groups are able to mobilize, share resources, and make a statement. Sam and I continually post resources not just here on the blog, but via our Twitter feed, and now on our own Facebook page (we still need more folks to "Like" our page so we can get a real URL, so your help there would be most appreciated). Utilizing social media, we are able to connect with and follow other organizations that bring you even more information. Please join us!
The Bully Project has a list of some wonderful resources on this page, among them two great articles by Rosalind Wiseman: advice on why you should NOT just tell your child to "ignore the bully," and a great article on empowering bystanders. As you find helpful resources or articles yourself, please share them with us via the comments.