Bully is a powerful documentary that follows five students and their families during the course of a school year. The film offers an unflinching look at the kind of torment many kids and teens endure every day—and the inadequate ways some adults respond to the problem.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities and other organizations teamed up with the makers of Bully to raise awareness and provide an online toolkit to stop the bullying of kids with special needs. As a parent, you can help build awareness by watching the movie with other families, your child’s school or your community. Here are some steps you can take.
Start with a home screening.
Invite people you think might be interested to watch Bully at your house. After the movie, discuss issues of bullying and how it affects kids in your local schools.
Talk about how you might start an anti-bullying project in your community. See if anyone would be interested in helping organize a larger screening, perhaps at a local school or youth organization. Involve those people in the next few steps.
Make a list of community stakeholders.
These are local leaders who may be able to influence large groups of people and enlist their help in changing how your community responds to bullying. Examples include:
- School leaders: Teachers, administrators, superintendent, PTA, teachers’ union, student council, guidance counselors, school social workers, school board officials, etc.
- Community officials: Mayor, city council, district attorney, police chief, etc.
- Community leaders and professionals: Pediatricians, faith leaders, business leaders, musicians, coaches, sports groups, youth organizations, etc.
- Support organizations: Anti-Defamation League, Not In Our School, Gay-Straight Alliance, etc.
Reach out to stakeholders.
Send a letter explaining that you’re working on organizing a Bully screening and community discussion. Ask the stakeholders to join you in planning the event and in encouraging people to attend.
Plan the viewing.
Decide when and where to show the movie.
- Find a location where there’s a big screen and a good sound system.
- Order the BULLY Project Educator’s DVD and Toolkit for your screening. It comes with a public screening license for schools, municipal facilities and youth organizations.
- Register your event on the BULLY Project website.
- Promote your event! Use local newspapers, online groups, community boards and other media. Ask stakeholders to help spread the word.
Plan the follow-up discussion and activities.
Use the tools and resources that come with the DVD and toolkit. Consider organizing a panel discussion or Q&A with community leaders. Or just plan a general discussion with the audience about reactions.
Take action against bullying.
After the screening, encourage people to work on anti-bullying projects. These may include:
- Encouraging all adults in the school community to sign and display pledges of being an “upstander.” That’s someone who won’t tolerate bullying and will work to stop it.
- Working with schools and local and state leaders to create anti-bullying policies.
- Hosting yearly Bully screenings.
Organizing a screening is one proactive thing you can do about bullying. Get tips on how you can make your child’s school a bully-free zone. Find out what steps to take if you suspect your child is being bullied.