While watching Bully, one of the prevalent feelings I had (beyond mere sadness at this unfortunate reality that our youth are faced with) was helplessness—and dismay at the reactions of many of the adults, particularly school administrators. “Boys will be boys,” said one Murray County, GA, school administrator—“they’re just cruel at this age.”
Even when there is action taken by authority figures, however, the effects of bullying are deep-rooted. “My mother intervened, of course...The physical attacks ended, but the isolation? The exclusion? That continues to this day,” wrote a Bronxville student named Anthony in the September issue of Teen Ink. His essay was chosen from nearly 1,200 submitted to the magazine for an essay contest conducted in partnership with Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times. (Visit teenink.com to read some of the devastating personal accounts of bullying that were submitted, as well as teenagers’ insights on how to address the problem.)
Beyond the Screen
Lee Hirsch, who was born and raised on Long Island and currently lives in Manhattan, has taken his film Bully beyond the closing credits with a companion book due out this October to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month. Bully: An Action Plan for Teachers, Parents, and Communities to Combat the Bullying Crisis by Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen (Weinstein Books) provides concrete, actionable advice and a plethora of resources. It is a must-read for every parent and educator.
A panel of experts addresses problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills; coping strategies; what to do when bullying escalates; when to intervene if your child is depressed; encouraging a curriculum of social and emotional learning in schools; how to proceed with legal action; and so much more.
To read an excerpt from the book that provides real tips for parents of children with special needs, go to nymetroparents.com/bully.