Alas, after tracking the Bully Project for many months, I watched Bully last night. Since many of my readers know me personally, these people know that I am highly against bullying and believe greatly in inclusivity and equality, despite the fact that the community that I am a part of is one in which this inequality or discrimination is rarely important. I want to put this out there before I continue to talk about this subject, as some of the things I will discuss in this post will likely indicate otherwise.
My primary thought throughout the movie was obviously how terrible the bullying that these children face is. While bullying is generally associated with physical violence, the bullying that we hear about more commonly is a lot more psychological: teasing, cyber bullying, etc. Thus, exposure to violence in this context is strange and frightening. Now, while the obvious solution to bullying is to change the thinking of children, this movie brought to my attention the immense role that administrators can have on bullying in their community. This isn’t something which we realize until we witness the results of the lack of this. There were a couple scenes in this movie which portrayed the assistant principal at one of the schools. One was of her trying to settle a dispute between two students, and the other was of her talking to the parents of one of the students being bullied. The first was somewhat reasonable: she asked the two students to shake hands, and be friends. However, this obviously didn’t seem to solve the problem. This continues in the meeting she has with the parents, in which she promises to do all she can to stop the bullying. Now, it seems that she does do this, as she organizes meetings with various students regarding this. However, there are two parts of this meetings which stand for her incapability to solve these problems. The first is in the meetings with the kids who are doing the bullying. She does tell them to stop hitting Alex, but doesn’t offer them consequences for doing it again. While it’s obviously easier to enforce consequences at a private school like EPS, where violence could result in expulsion, there are many consequences that could easily be enforced, which I have seen/heard of being used in public schools. The main ones here are detention and suspension. I don’t know how effective these are for preventing violence, but it’s at least worth a try.
The second thing is that, in her conversation with Alex, she seems completely unconcerned with the fact that he’s being beat up. She asks him about their last meeting, in which he complained about being sat on on the bus. She asks whether that had happened again, and he says no, but he’s been violently bullied in other ways since then. The assistant principal doesn’t care about that: she just cares that he hasn’t been sat on again, and because of this, her task had been accomplished. This sort of mentality should be a complete and utter embarrassment for an administration. The primary goal of a school is to provide a safe environment for students. Even if it is true that there is no way to fully stop the violence, such an approach of ignorance and apathy is completely unacceptable. Administrators have to accept that their job is to fight bullying, not simply tell people that it is unavoidable. This idea of fighting even the impossible to eliminate is clearly apparent in the administration at EPS. Faculty and staff stop bullying or discrimination if it is apparent, which it rarely is, rather than standing aside and watching a fight, saying that it’s bound to happen with high school students. This is reflected perfectly in our school by the fact that there haven’t been any clear problems with bullying-associated violence recently. We have developed an accepting, inclusive society.
Now, this next part is the part for which I wrote the introduction that I did. The rest of this post has been against bullying, but the part will question this thinking. However, I sincerely hope that this is not the view held by any individual or group, as it is one that has the potential to be very dangerous to society. This idea is that of bullying being a natural part of life which shouldn’t be avoided. It is a sudden of natural selection which serves to root out those who aren’t as capable or powerful. Now, the reason why this is such a terrible idea is that this is not at all the way society functions today. It is a very primitive system of prioritizing qualities which no longer have importance in our society. Those in power are those who have the intelligence and education to lead society, not those who are physically powerful and aggressive. Bullying is essentially immature. It, in it’s violent form, is nearly solely present among children. Using a system like this to filter society is useless and must be fought against.
In conclusion, I want to acknowledge the fact that bullying is very difficult to face and pretty much impossible to eliminate. We can only hope that efforts to combat it will reduce its prominence. But we cannot let this stop us from trying. Thank you for reading.


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