Joining The Army Against Bullying

Thanks to The Bully Project for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website to join the movement and learn more.

This is a preview for the new documentary Bully. There is a lot of controversy surrounding it, and it was recently given a PG-13 rating instead of the original R rating. Please take a minute to watch it. And grab a tissue, I needed one.

With a 7 and 11 year old in the house, we know a little about bullying – thankfully nothing like what the parents in the movie have dealt with. We have had a few issues with “friends” not acting like friends.

It’s a difficult line to deal with as a parent.

What if it is more verbal bullying than physical confrontation? Do you tell them to ignore the words? The taunts? The laughter? Tell them to walk away? Tell them to tease back, making others laugh at the bully?

How about if it’s physical? Do they try to leave or defend themselves? What if it’s physical, but no punches are thrown? What if it’s a series of smaller incidents, causing it to look like your child was the one in the wrong when they finally had enough of it and swung?

Do you call the parents of the bully and speak to them, leaving your child open to the “you ran to your mom!” situation? Do you ask the school to get involved?

I am lucky enough to work at the school where my children go, where there is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying. They use the Second Step program to teach the middle school students to make positive choices about things such as cyber bullying, peer pressure, substance abuse, and bullying. Our small school employs several monitors who are walking the campus at all times watching the students’ behavior, making sure passing times run smoothly, and keeping a watchful eye out for bullying. We also have boxes set up all over campus so students can make anonymous reports of bullying (and the boxes are used to report kindness, as well!).

I joined the campaign against bullying so that people are aware of just how prevalent the issue has become. Did you watch the trailer? An 11 year old boy killed himself. He is Michael’s age!

The movie Bully follows five families, school administrators, and teachers in Sioux City Community School District over the course of one school year. Out of those five families, two have lost children to suicide (as an after effect of bullying) and one family has a daughter who is incarcerated because she brought a gun onto the school bus. The film is playing in select cities now, and will be in theaters nationwide on April 13th.

I plan on watching this movie with Michael, and showing parts of it to Jack when it comes out on DVD so they can both see what bullying looks like (in many forms) and the effects it can have on children and families. These boys will be educated about bullying and respectful to everyone they encounter.

Have you heard of the movie Bully? Will you take your child to see it, rent it on DVD, or do you prefer to not see the movie?


I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

Find showings in your area for The Bully Project and buy tickets here

Comments

  1. 1
    Chelsea says:

    Oh wow. Wooooowwwwww. You’re not kidding that this is a tear jerker.
    I am so scared for my kids to grow up, for so many reasons. This is definitely one of them. Will I see the movie? Yes. But I may have to wait for it on DVD so that I can take breaks when I need to.

  2. 2
    Melissa says:

    Hmmmm, where to start. This is a subject that is very near to my heart. My middle son is constantly picked on at school.

    First and foremost, “zero tolerance policies” at schools are rubbish — not worth the paper their written on. In most cases, the “policy” is only enforced when it’s a child that the school officials know they can rely on the parents to be responsive to the complaints. For those children that truly are the bullies, the school officials throw their hands in the air and say — there’s nothing more we can do.

    Bullies also aren’t only children. There are a lot of adult bullies. They may not be physically abusive or even confrontational – in a face-to-face situation but they are bullies all the same. People who pick and pick and pick until they get what they want — Often those were the ones who were bullied as children (check out how they treat their children and spouses).

    What advice have I given my children about dealing with bullies? When it’s a verbal “assault’ I’ve told them that the first defense is walking away. (If their true smartass inherited traits come out — they’ll snicker at the ‘bully’ and walk away — that one always gets them). I have also taught my children that they should never, ever throw the first punch, slap, kick, etc. — HOWEVER, if they are defended themselves, their family or friends that is a totally different story. They know that if they are defending themselves, I will fight to the death for them at the school.

    Until the adults at the school realize they need to handle all bullying incidents the same way (regardless of community “standing”) the children will have to learn to stand up to a bully. (Same goes for the adult bullies in the communities). As long as you allow someone to treat you poorly, they will.

    I know this was a little rambly but I hope my point came across okay.

    • 2.1
      Becca says:

      Your point totally came across, and I completely agree with it.

      I am completely impressed with the way the boys’ school handles bullying, though. It doesn’t even get to the point of bullying. Eyes are everywhere and the smallest mean-spirited actions are not tolerated. Being on both sides of the school (working there and having kids go there), I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with them.

      Adult bullying is an entirely different situation, though. Unfortunately, they’re everywhere and in all different forms.

  3. 3
    Gramma Teetsie Thompson says:

    I only hope and pray every day that my Grandchildren never have to go through this. And I also hope that they realize how hurtful words can be. Not just the physical abuse, words, teasing, hurtful words. Please, God, watch over them and their friends.

  4. 4
    Leah says:

    I hate that this discussion is necessary, but I’m glad that it’s happening… This is one of the issues I’m most nervous about as my boys enter the school system and even though he’s only in first grade I already find myself asking all the same questions you just posed, Becca. Just yesterday, a 6th grader asked him for his Lego keychain…he didn’t have the courage to say no so he gave it to him but didn’t want to… It broke my heart that my boy didn’t feel confident to speak for himself, and then of kcourse I started to worry about all of the other “What If’s”…

    • 4.1
      Becca says:

      That breaks MY heart! Has he mentioned it again?

      • Leah says:

        We had several discussions about it, talked about how he felt and what his options were… In the end, he decided to drop it rather than ask for it back and learn a lesson from the experience–hopefully next time he’ll have the confidence to say no. I basically think he’s scared of “the big kids” at school, which seems a bit normal…? (I remember being in 1st grade and the 6th graders seemed SO big!) But it was eye-opening for me to realize that he is not nearly as self assured or confident as I thought…the kid is extremely articulate and a master negotiator at home! We’ll be talking more about it as the years go on, for sure…

    • 4.2
      Heather says:

      Bullying does start out at a VERY young age. I started getting bullied on the first week of kidnergarden but not but older kids surprisenly, but by my own grade. They called me stupid (one reason is because I’m a year older than them and I started late due to injury), good for nothing, and a waste of time. The also excluded me from playing with and talking to them because I was “weird” and I was a loser. In third grade my grade found out that I have two autistic brothers the other kids started saying that since I have two autistic brothers that I must be autistic too. I have been tested and there are no problems with me I’m just like any other kid. In fourth grade they started telling me that I’m “too ugly to date anyone.” Then in sixth grade they started calling me a lesbian cuz I didn’t have my first boyfriend yet. Then in seventh grade they started calling me a whore and I still have not had a boyfriend and I’ve never did anything with anyone or even had my first kiss. Today I’m 18 years old in eleventh grade, and pretty much everyday I get told that I’m autistic, ugly, stupid, a waste of time, a nobody, that no one will ever date me, that I’m a lesbian, that I’m a psyco, I’m a whore, that I’m “all stretched out,” and oh this one is my favorite, that I’ve had 7 abortions already. I have not had my first boyfriend yet or let alone had my first kiss yet. I don’t even want to go school it’s so bad and it’s finally getting to the point where I’m braking down in school. Even the teachers are after me. Because of all of this my grades have gone way done, and I’m scared to go up and talk to anyone or say anything to anyine in fear that they will be mean to me. I don’t even want to go to my own junior prom this year cuz it’s so bad. But this year I meet some nice people that are freshmens and they certainly help me get by.

      • Karen says:

        Wow Heather!
        It really sounds like your bullying experience has been extremely bad. I wish kids weren’t mean and I don’t understand why they seem to be driven to meanness.

        I am sure it’s hard to see past the nastiness but you need to remember that you are NOT any of the things they call you.

        P.S. I am glad you found some nice people this year.

      • Chelsea says:

        Wow, Heather, I’m so sorry! Kids and high school can be so rough and unfair. Not sure if it helps, but college or “real life” after high school is so much better in this area. Hang in there! And, as Karen said, I’m so glad you’ve found some nice friends this year. I’d rather have a few great friends than a bunch of fickle friends.

      • At this age things are tough, and you are in the toughest situation. Chelsea is right, you are better to have a good friend than fickle friends. And high school is a blink – doesn’t feel like it, but it is – and when you get out in the real world, it all changes.

        You are NOT what they say, you are who YOU are. Don’t forget that.

        Hang in there, and keep looking for help, be thankful for your good friends.

  5. 5
    Carlise says:

    I had signed the petition to change the rating a while back through Change.org, so I have been getting the e-mails about the progress and was SO happy to see that they had changed it! I have been fortunate (so far) with Gavyn not being bullied, thank God, and I pray it remains that way. Shortly before Christmas I had a friend’s daughter take her life because she was bullied to the point where she felt that was the only out. It’s so, so heartbreaking to know that this epidemic is out there, and I think with social media these days it’s become even easier to hide behind a computer and do it. I just don’t understand how some people can be so awful. :(

    • 5.1
      Becca says:

      I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I am so grateful that the boys haven’t experienced anything like that.

      I agree -people hide behind the computer, and it’s so much easier for them to be mean. Through friends of friends, I have been able to see some local high school kids post on fb, and it’s not pretty. :(

  6. 6
    Christina says:

    I hadn’t heard of this movie, but I do plan to view it with Aurora when it comes out on DVD. Her school is pretty good about bullying too, and her after school program talks about it and does scenarios once a week, teaching the kids that it’s no acceptible and how to handle it if it does happen. I agree it’s a big problem, and kids these days are getting more and more violent. I’m glad they are putting this movie out there to garner more attention on the issue!

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