Take A Stand!

Bully (2012)
A Review by Ben Hunter
4 Out of 5 Stars
March 30, 2012
“When someone takes your clothes in the locker room while you’re taking a shower, and you’re forced to walk out naked; when someone calls you a geek and a fag and pushes your head in a locker, when someone takes your books from you, throws them on the floor and says ‘pick them up bitch!’ … These are things that happened to Tyler.”
Bullying, the problem is real, the problem is being ignored.

Bully is a documentary that follows 5 families with children that are victims to the serious problem of being bullied in school.  This has become a serious problem all over the world and it’s shocking that it’s only now being addressed in an active movement kind of way. 

We meet Tyler, the first born who made his father proud.  As he grew up he became more introverted and kids started to tease him for his weaker natured behavior.  Tyler would cry and cry at home for the abuse he was taking.  It got to the point where he wouldn’t cry at all anymore and everything boiled inside.  At this point his parents knew that reaching out to Tyler was more than difficult.  Tyler just couldn’t take it anymore.

We meet Alex, another first born child but born prematurely.  The doctors said he wouldn’t live past 24 hours, he’s now 13.  But he looks different from the other kids at school.  They call him “fish face” and other nasty names.  They punch and kick Alex on the bus, even stab him with pencils because he looks so different.  Alex just takes it because he likes going to school and learning and because of the peer pressure to want to fit in, all he wants is to make friends.  But he has trouble making friends.  His mother was just distraught with pain and says that if they just took a chance they’d have the most devoted friend ever as she cries on Mother’s Day for not feeling like a good mother. 

We meet Kelby, a girl that recently came out in her small town as a lesbian.  Her father commented that people they’ve been friends with since Kelby was a baby, people they go to church with, etc. now don’t even look at their family.  They won’t even wave.  It’s a battle for Kelby in school, a moral, religious, and heartbreaking battle for Kelby’s family.  They tell her that they can pick up and leave but Kelby tells her family, “If I leave … they win.”

We meet Ja’Maya, a scared young girl who one day just couldn’t take all the insults on the bus day after day after day and became the aggressor and not the victim and is now in juvenile detention, jail for kids.  She told her mother, “I’m sorry I put you through this mamma.  I didn’t intend to hurt anyone. I just couldn’t take it anymore.  All I wanted to do was scare them.”

We meet Ty, a young boy whose best friend said he was the nicest, most caring person he ever met.  Ty was the reason why this friend refrains from going back to being a bully himself.  So why is Ty and his family punished when he was just a victim?

Our society has become very open and liberal today, most of it for good reason.  But it’s gotten to the point where teachers are afraid to do anything to stop this major problem that’s gotten out of control.  What do you expect?  They don’t want to loose their jobs.  So they put it all on the parents and say the schools can’t stop a child from negative behavior when they come from a mal-nourished environment in the home. 

So parents who do provide well-nourished environments and care enough to speak with school authority to bring an end to this severe problem hear, “kids will be kids”, “let these girls work it out” and my personal favorite, “boys will be boys”.  The police’s hands are tied; the school superintendents are looking the other way, because they all put this on the parents in my opinion.  But I also think the parents can only do so much.

As a fellow victim of bullying when I was in school, I’ve joined the movement as this movie does a great job of bringing this issue to our attention.  I was afraid to go to lunch everyday in the cafeteria.  A lot of days, most days, I was just purely afraid to go to school. 

If there are people that can unite and take a stand against bullying, then there will be less and less children fearing to go to school or even worse, fearing for their lives.  We need to encourage children to learn to not fear the new kid or the different kid and make their acquaintance or just be cordial with them.  It’s never cool to disrespect what you don’t understand. 

Lee Hirsch, the films director stated that “This year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied at school, online, on the bus, at home, through their cell phones, and on the streets of their towns, making it the most common form of violence young people in this country experience.”

But it only takes one person to take a stand for peace. 

Make a difference.

Say no to bullying.

It’s time to take a stand!

Documentary, 99 Minutes, PG-13
Written by: Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen
Directed by: Lee Hirsch
Cast: Alex, Ja’Maya, Kelby, David Long, Tina Long, Kirk Smalley

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