Bullying in schools is one of those things that everyone has a connection to in one way or another. Maybe you weren't the one being teased or kicked, but you saw it happen. Maybe it was a sibling that would come home in tears. Maybe you were guilty of being the bully. Maybe you are the teacher who desperately wants to put an end to it. Maybe you were the kid who repeatedly got your self-esteem dashed by other students in the hallway. Maybe your child takes part in it and you do not even know. Whatever connection you may have, bullying exists and it gets brushed under the rug way too often.
Last night, I attended a screening of the documentary Bully at Vanderbilt. It was a cold, rainy night and I sat there with two friends as we sobbed through the majority of the film. It is simply heartbreaking to see what these kids are put through. The torment, the name-calling, and physical abuse in the film literally had us all in tears. The even sadder part is that the worst of it is probably never caught on camera or even reported at all.
One of the boy's featured in the film, who took his own life after relentless bullying, was represented last night by his parents. They came to Vanderbilt and led a discussion after the screening. The pain of their loss was apparent in every word they spoke. They have spent the last four years trying to heal from the tragedy of losing a son, especially given the circumstances, and they have just reached a point where they can travel, advocate, and are starting an organization to prevent it.
The fact that stood out the most to me was, though bullying has been an issue for generations, now with the internet, texting, and social media, the bullying is taking place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is no break for these kids. They are constantly being bullied, and it has got to stop.
I am fully aware of how many organizations out there want your time, money, or attention. I just think it is worthwhile, for anyone and everyone, to spend the time watching this film and do what you can from wherever you are in life, to put an end to the bullying epidemic.