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'Bully' may send wrong message to bullied children

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 11:19 a.m. CDT

To the editor:

An Oct. 3 letter went home with our seventh- and eighth-grade Berg Middle School students describing some details of the movie “Bully” and national issues of bullying.

In short, it’s a permission slip for parents to sign allowing their child to attend but also includes an invitation for parents to review the movie prior to the students viewing. The letter hopes that parents will support the participation of their student as it’s deemed a valuable educational event.

It was disappointing that only four families were in attendance to see “Bully” at the Capitol ll Theater last night. Why so few taking interest when we have so many students? Maybe the title and description of preventing bullying gives an automatic assumption of a good thing. More should be concerned.

Putting myself in the perspective of an eighth grader, I might view “Bully” affirming that adults are part of the bullying problem. They don’t listen, they lie and they cover up issues.

In the movie some of the parents didn’t listen to their child that was being victimized. The school administration hid the truth and lied to the kids that were being bullied, as well to their parents, as did law enforcement.

Will our students conclude that adults can’t be trusted from this movie? Especially the school administration? Why would they go to us for help? The movie certainly portrays that in part.

“Bully” put a lot of emphasis on kids bullied to the point that they took their own lives. As unfortunate as that is, I think this movie adds a risk when viewed by seventh and eighth graders that any kid bullied will finally get peace, recognition and be appreciated only after that tragic occurrence.

That’s obviously not the intent. It’s hoped to stop bullying, identify those that are or assist the victims before a tragedy occurs. The way the movie chooses to tell these stories, however, adds risk of making their life end as an option.

I hope our teachers, administration and school board reviewed this movie and are comfortable with its contents.

Parents should not need a movie to replace them in what they should be teaching their kids and living an example for. Shame on us for this failure as there would be no need for a movie like this if we all were doing our part.

We took the ability away from good teachers to discipline our kids at school and although bullying has been around for years, it may well be an increased side effect of limiting what our teachers can and cannot do. Again, shame on us.

Jerry Balek

Newton

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