“I’ve attempted suicide three times. I was a cutter. The school doesn’t care, I’ve sat in class while teachers took role calling for boys, girls, and Kelby, and sat while they talked about how the town used to burn fags,” 16-year old lesbian Kelby Jackson said. Jackson’s shocking reaction, expressed in the movie Bully which played on April 23 in the Mountain View High School theatre, shed light on the effects of the many years of bullying endured due to her sexual orientation.
Bully follows five victims of bullying, two of which have since committed suicide. Set in varying locations from Tuttle, Oklahoma to Yazoo County, Mississippi, the movie succeeds in depicting the worse effects of bullying. A far cry from the usual bullying seminars and documentaries, Bully shows the raw experience of the victims. The audience watches as kids get beaten on the bus, parents cry as they talk about their deceased children, and even a girl take a gun onto the bus just to make the teasing stop. The movie also shows school officials and administrators attempting to solve the issues through various methods. These attempts to stop the problem are cringe-worthy: one teacher forces two students to shake hands, and several smiled politely and said “We’re doing the best we can.” Scenes like these help the audience sympathize with the students’ problems, but also enrage at the symplified solutions.
After the film, Gloria Moskowitz and Jack Weinstein, experts in bullying prevention, answered follow-up questions about the film and talked about what they’re doing to end bullying. Parents voiced concerns what action the community was taking to prevent the issue and how to help their kids do the same. In response, both talked about the importance of educating kids from an early age to stand up against bullies, and how communication is the best way to help their kids talk about their own bullying experiences.