“Go out there and find that one child, that new kid, who just moved to town, standing over there by himself, be his friend, smile, be willing to help him out when he’s pushed down, be willing to stand up for him. If we all do it together, we will change the world. It starts right here, right now.”
- KIRK SMALLEY, TY’S FATHER, AT A STAND FOR THE SILENT RALLY
Bullying takes place within a larger social context comprised of the relationships among students, teachers, administrators, and staff of the school as well as the members of the larger community. These relationships contribute to the culture of the school and set the stage for the degree to which bullying situations are tolerated or taken on. BULLY shows the complexity of the community and culture surrounding any school exemplified in the aftermath of Tyler Long’s suicide in Murray County, Georgia. Five weeks after his death, Tyler’s parents organized a town hall meeting to bring their community together to talk about bullying.
Twenty administrators from the Murray County school system were invited to the town meeting, but none attended. David Carroll, the local television news reporter who moderated the meeting, later wrote that if the school administrators had attended,
“they would have heard students tearfully detailing being bullied, wrongly accused, and humiliated in open-stall bathrooms. They would have heard constructive suggestions for more, better trained resource officers. Ideas on student honor councils to better enforce and encourage good behavior. Plans to establish parent advocate groups to help families approach school officials on bullying issues. Goals of uniting churches and support groups to educate families on spotting both bullies and victims.”
Bullying today does not happen just at school – it happens on the streets of our towns, in our homes, at extracurricular activities, at camp, online, and in many other places. In order for us to accomplish real change kids, parents, school staff, community leaders, and legislators must all come together to help find solutions.
Here are some ways YOU can STOP BULLYING and SPEAK UP!
- Bring BULLY to your community: PLAN A SCREENING
- Organize a community event around BULLY and download the free BULLY viewing facilitation guide to kick off a powerful conversation about bullying in your school and community.
- Share YOUR STORY with other members of the BULLY community.
- Encourage your state to enact a MODEL ANTI-BULLYING STATUTE.
- Model positive behavior throughout your day by treating others with respect and empathy, and intervening when you see bullying behavior.