This post is being written while I am watching the movie Bully for the first time. I thought I would share some of my thoughts and emotions with you all.
For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, follow this link to "The BULLY Project" web page to find out more about the movie, and the initiative it has created.
The first thing in the movie that really caught my attention was when Tyler says that he is afraid to go back to school, and then to see the torment that he receives.
I was also shocked to see the principal of one of the schools reaction to bullying going on within her school. Her response was I don't know what to do. She almost shrugged it off. This made me angry, no principal, or teacher's response to bullying should be I don't know what to do. Even if you as the teacher do not know what to do we have a responsibility to the children within our school and classroom to protect them and make them feel like they belong and that they are safe. You NEED to find a solution.
Hearing Kelby and her family talk about the tormenting that she went through after coming out to her peers and community absolutely breaks my heart. Especially that the community is using the excuse of religion to condone their behaviours. However, her response, when her parents offered her the option to leave and go somewhere else, shocked me. For someone so young to have the inner strength not to let her peers and community win, to stand up and say "if I leave, they win" was amazing to hear.
For Tyler's parents to be willing to share his story, and use the tragedy that their family has been through to bring awareness to bullying is inspiring. You often hear of families coming together when a young family member is lost, and creating something that will allow their loved one to be remembered. I myself have been a part of memorials for loved ones lost within my family and community. As inspiring as the projects I have been a part of were, it is truly inspiring to see the parents and family of Tyler to speak out against bullying, to bring awareness to teen and youth suicide. The message they are sending is an important one - No child or teen should feel like their only option is to take their own life. Although we may not be able to prevent bulling, we can try and reduce it. Create a no tolerance policy within your classroom. I know there will be one in mine.
To hear the story of Ja'meya is heartbreaking. That a child feels like their only option is to take a gun to school because they are being bullied breaks my heart. Where were the adults, the bus driver/teachers/principals to prevent the situation from going this far.
The saying "kids will be kids" or "boys will be boys" is not an excuse to allow bullying to go on.
Schools cannot turn a blind eye to bullying. There are so many bullying initiatives out there now, bring them to your principals attention, do some research, find out what anti bullying programs your school is already involved in. Educate your students on bullying.
Well the movie is getting emotional and I don't want to ruin it for those of you who have not seen BULLY. If I can leave you all with one last piece of my thoughts,