Bully by Lee Hirsch

Bully by Lee Hirsch

Bully follows the lives of five American students who face bullying on a daily basis.

This documentary deeply upset me. With all the problems we have in the world, it’s enraging that this problem exists to this degree.

I feel sorry for the child who took his own life over being bullied. It’s sad his voice was not heard when he was alive and that he had to take himself away to get everybody’s attention.

I am perversely happy and relieved for the child who decided to take action and scare her bullies by bringing a handgun onto a school bus and eventually had the criminal charges amended.

It broke my heart seeing one of the kids claiming he does not feel anything anymore about being strangled, punched, stabbed with pencils and verbally abused daily. Something failed in humanity here.

I was surprised there were no bus monitors on these school buses. When I was a kid, the schools never left it up to the bus driver as the sole adult on the bus, they assigned a teacher or a teacher’s assistant to be a bus monitor to watch the kids.

What can a teacher realistically do in that situation? It is battling an invisible social force. It is never just the bully that terrorizes you; it’s also the empty space around the victim that’s reinforced by other people doing nothing. The bullying behavior is a contagious hive-minded social act. Once you bear witness to somebody being humiliated, they feel like they can humiliate them too. That’s how it spreads.

It was unjust watching a teacher totally ignoring one of the kids and forcing him to shake hands with the bully who was just going to bully him again later. I agree that teachers can generally do more than the ones presented here. Those teachers clearly did not care about those students and were defending themselves on a political level. As the film shows, catching the bullying act when it happens doesn’t completely solve the problem; the schools just need to have open discussions with the students. There is a bit of that in the end, but it made me wonder if there are any schools in America that are more active on this issue.

The documentary is not complete. They could have interviewed the teachers’ side or other students or even the school bullies themselves. The director’s agenda was to enrage the audience as much as possible. It’s a one-sided argument, but it worked on me. I am enraged. I have a weak stomach for kids in pain. That said, I want to see a follow-up on these kids and the current situation in America. Did this documentary create any action? Maybe a follow-up film might be a good idea.

The MPAA rating dispute truly does not matter at all; Bully should be screened in schools and discussed in a classroom. It’s a relevant topic that exists parallel to the middle school and high school kids right now. What is the point of waiting for them to be age-appropriate to see it later in their first year in college? Hold the mirror up and disturb them now! Why wouldn’t you?