Bullying: Not Just A Lesson For Kids

Image: Too Scared for School (Bully Documentary, 2011)

The documentary, Bully, opened this weekend and the online world has been buzzing with anticipation.

The movie, made for under a million dollars, examines the effects of bullying in schools by getting the perspectives of five kids (and their families).  Two of those families lost their children to suicide due to the bullying.

Before even hitting the theaters, the film directed by Lee Hirsh was getting publicity.  Katy Butler, a Michigan teen, campaigned with great success to get the “R” rating changed to PG-13 which would allow more school-aged kids to be able to view the movie.

In order to promote the film, The Bully Project teamed up with social media outlets such as Clever Girls Collective, to sponsor bloggers to write about the topic of bullying.

Bloggers signed up by the hundreds to share their story of being bullying or witnessing bullying in hopes of persuading their audiences to see the film, talk with their children, and help The Bully Project’s movement to end bullying.

And there were some powerful stories.

Kimberly talked about how she stood up for her sister.

Fadra shared about seeing it from the eyes of a young teacher.

and Alex discussed the importance of the bystanders.

Everyone seems to have a bully story.  Everyone seems to want to stop it.

And I totally agree.

I’m also a teacher.  I also see teens bullied.  It is heartbreaking.

But you know what?  As important as this film is and I fully support it’s mission, bullying amongst kids is not going to stop until bullying amongst adults ends.

Politicians are backing this film, but those same adults are probably guilty of bullying.

Kids can learn from this film how devastating bullying can be, but then they go home and a parent bullies them.  Or they turn on the TV and politicians are calling girls/women on birth control “sluts” or women are pointing fingers at each other calling each other lazy or unqualified.  Read all the comments under something someone posts on line and count the number of “trolls” taunting and teasing the writer and other commenters.

Aren’t all these forms of bullying?

Is this a case of do as I say, but not as I do?

I hope not.

I hope adults can learn from Bully as much as kids can.

But I doubt it.

Parents will tell their kids to pay attention.  They will cry for the victims.

But then they will call people names who don’t believe what they do.  They will tear someone down in order to feel better about themselves.

Don’t bully, kids.

At least not until you are an adult.


Note: There are anti-bully movements for adults too.  One that I am a part of (because I am part of the “mom blog” community) is The Mom Pledge.

And there are bullying resources here.



  1. Love this roundup and can’t wait to see the movie. Thanks for including me!

  2. Great post Katie! I will be checking the movie out. You touched on something that brought tears to my eyes. As an adult that was pretty severely bullied online this time last year, I can attest that this does go on. If you do nothing else, think before calling someone names while your children are within listening distance. That’s a start. And if you really think about it, there are many ways we can curb our “bullying” tendencies, whether we realize we have them or not. BE the example!

  3. Katie:

    First of all, I reposted this on my Facebook page. Second of all what a fantastic point about parents unintentionally modelling bullying behaviors. And third of all, I am attaching a link (which I NEVER do), but I wrote about bullying yesterday as my son has been through it on and off. Oh, wait, I don’t have to… it’s in the link below! Like you, as an educator, we see so much of this stuff, but we also know that apples don’t fall from pear trees. And one of the comments left by “noahluv” speaks directly to this point.

    How I wish we didn’t have to keep writing about this topic. But we do. We do.

  4. Hi Katie, I think any child who’s bullied deserves to be suppported and understood by the people around them, unfortunately support most of the time falls short whether it’s parents or teachers who should be looking out for these kids. I think as long as we have sociopaths in society who lack the ability to empathise with other people, vulnerable people will always be at their mercy. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stand up to bullying.


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