Friday, October 12, 2012

BULLY at the Saratoga Film Forum

I’m really committed to community level change. So many of our prevention efforts focus on helping individuals to make changes, but I think working to get communities to make changes is far more effective. So last night I was thrilled to be sitting in a room with 40 people of all ages who attended the Saratoga Film Forum’s showing of the film BULLY. All these people were there because they want to find solutions to this critical problem that affects our schools.

There are two more chances to see the film this weekend. Make time… go see it! It’s a powerful insider’s view of how bullying affects our youth. As an adult, the big wake-up call for me was hearing from youth (those in the movie as well as local youth who attended the discussion panel after the movie) that kids don’t trust that if they tell adults about bullying that we’ll do anything to help (and sometimes they feel that way because of experience). If I took nothing away from the movie, it’s that a kid being bullied is so vulnerable and we  adults need to  listen better and act. This isn’t a pretty topic, so at times the movie is graphic.... and heart wrenching.  I saw some parents attended with their kids; what a great way to really open those lines of communication about what happens when our kids aren't with us; let's face it, that's most of their waking hours. I also spoke with couples who attended together. They said the movie really got them having an in-depth conversation about this subject. Great! And I also heard that some local schools are encouraging their teachers to watch the movie, because they want to do more to eliminate harassment and discrimination in our schools.
After each showing, there’s a panel discussion. Last night a courageous 8th grader told the intensely personal story about how it felt to be bullied and cyber-bullied throughout 7th grade.  Another  eight grader has been working toward social change by assisting in creating anti-bullying messages in his school. I wish I could attend again tonight as the panel will be presenting anti-bullying strategies.
It’s a busy weekend for everyone, but carve out a couple of hours this weekend to attend BULLY. It will make a difference for a child right here in our community.

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