I was first in line to see it this morning. Initially, it looked like I would be the only one there, but thankfully a few more showed up.
Kindness Matters! It’s just one of the take away messages of the movie, Bully. It is the message that the kids need to get and that some are getting as they join in the cause to help prevent bullying and to support the victims.
There are more important messages for the adults!
- Blaming the victim for not telling you is not acceptable especially if you gave them empty promises of protection in the past while they continued to be tormented.
- Scolding them for not forgiving their tormentor is not helpful either.
- Apathetic attitudes regarding the severity of the problem are not helpful.
- Excusing meanness that does not result in bloody noses or broken bones is also inexcusable.
We see teachers, parents, principals, vice principals, law enforcement, and bus drivers letting kids down again and again. One child takes matters into her own hands and threatens her tormentors with a real gun. FYI one boy had threatened to sexually assault this teenager, so it is not like she had not been threatened. I do not condone taking a gun to school, but I do understand why she did it, and I found the sheriff to be offensive when he said that she had no cause for this action because she had not been physically assaulted. He thinks she should be locked up for a hundred years despite the fact that the gun wasn’t fired, and she had never been in trouble previously. You’ll find out her fate if you watch the movie.
I will be writing a longer review for Special-Ism for publication on the fourth of May, so I am not going to say more about the movie itself right now. I merely hope schools will encourage their staff and students to see the movie.
The first posting had the wrong link. Please read this one to get the correct one. Mahalo!
Autism As They Grow: http://goo.gl/wJaXL8
Listen to internet radio with SpecialNeedsTalkRadio on Blog Talk Radio
Mahalo To Bobbi Sheahan and Amalia Starr for inviting me to their show and for being terrific hosts!
Myna birds squawk and sound like they are trying to cause trouble in many backyards in Hawaii, and they seem to travel in pairs like some bullies, so I am using them as my bully picture of the day.
I’m not sure how many of you watched Dateline Sunday night, “My Kids Would Never…Bully” after I tweeted it on Friday, but I watched it and loved it. Two of the bystanders were very brave and spoke up and defended the victim and then continued to defend the victim when the bullying got worse. Yay Lilly and Isaiah!!!!!!! Others joined in once one person spoke up. We really need more of this. Others also made efforts to support the victim, but some were not forceful enough for it to make a difference. Bystanders really can make a difference when they are firm and persistent!!!!
I also loved that they emphasized that adults set the tone and actually showed how bad coaching or really any bad authority figure can contribute to escalating bullying and more people joining the bully. Of note, one girl, who admitted liking Gossip Girl style was easily pulled into joining the bullies. This brings home a point I made in a previous posts about watching mean girl shows. You can read it here. One of the boys was also drawn into helping the bullies, but this was after the bad example set by the “coach” of observing the bullying and then not doing anything to help and in fact making it worse.
Another nice thing they did that I love is they gave links to sites with more information to take action against the bullying. I also love that Rosalind Wiseman emphasized the importance of the bystander speaking up and being assertive and firm rather than being kind when confronting the bully. The guy from the Hetrick-Martin Institute also pointed out that calling someone “gay” has become the new way to bully even when the victim is not “gay.” This happens on sports teams and at school.
The resources they listed are: http://rosalindwiseman.com
http://hmi.org (This is the Hetrick-Martin Institute who were also on the show to help.)
http://glsen.org (The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network)
Do you have examples of bad teachers, coaches, parents, or other adults contributing to the bullying?
Thankfully, I had parents who taught me to help people in trouble and yet, until my thirties I did not always do this. I have never left anyone wounded or bleeding, but there have been times when I have not stopped if I saw others were already at the scene. I mentioned in a previous blog that I also regret not speaking up to help a friend when someone bullied her on the school bus when I was in high school. It took me a while to really grow up, so I do get how hard it is for bystanders to step-up and help those in need, although I think it is time we worked to change the apathy within ourselves and others.
What I do not get is why in a time when bully prevention programs encourage bystanders to help, a mail carrier has to fight to try to get her job back after helping a young man who was in danger of being mauled by two pit bulls. That is just wrong! See this story: Mail Carrier Tries to Get Job Back After Helping Boy | NBC Philadelphia.
What I do get and love is bystanders who do help and bloggers who post their stories and helpful information. Read this post: Tips for the Bully Bystander « Bullying Stories.
Warning the next link is disturbing, so I understand if you choose to skip it.
This link includes two examples of how callous people are capable of being: The Bystander Effect: Alive and Well, Page 2 of 2 – Associated Content from Yahoo! – associatedcontent.com.
The last two links are information from a teacher’s site about the Holocaust. I am posting them because I really fear for our nation when bystanders do not speak-up and when I see a tolerance of meanness while kindness and acceptance of differences are seemingly MIA in some of our school age children.
A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust-Victims.
A Teachers Guide to the Holocaust-Bystanders.
Do you speak-up when you see someone being mistreated? Do you encourage your children to speak-up too?