I walked into a screening of Bully joking around with my friend that this would be like watching my middle school experience. Not becuase I was tormented and teased by bullies, but because I was one. Considering that I spent half of 5th grade in a wheelchair while wearing glasses and braces, this surprises most people. But isn’t that why someone becomes a bully? To deflect attention from themselves and onto someone else. If you saw photos of me in the 5th grade, you would know I needed a major attention deflector — and the only thing I had was my mouth.
After watching the documentary, I wanted to take back what I said. I was a bully in the sense I teased other kids and could come back with quick retorts to insults. I was never in a bully like the bullies in Bully. I never stabbed kids with pencils, slammed their heads into things, told them they were my “bitch” or pushed them to suicide. But just because I was not that kind of bully doesn’t mean I don’t understand them. Middle school wasn’t that long ago and I haven’t forgotten the social dynamics that run life there.
The overarching theme of Bully seems to be that change will come from within the student community at schools. They show the inability of parents to make a difference and they show the inefficiency of school administration at finding a solution. The student body at individual schools have to want to change the school environment, if enough Davids stand up to one Goliath, they can make a difference. It’s an extremely moving message and the story of how Stand Up For The Silent all started,while very sad, is inspirational.
But the bullies who really need to hear this message and see the changes they could have on their school community are not going to watch the movie. Even if they’re sitting in a school auditorium, being forced to watch the film. From the very beginning the film is extremely uncomfortable, it launches right into the story of a teenager Tyler Long, who committed suicide as a result of bullying.