Bully

June 21
Thur *8:05* with post-screening discussion
(US / 2011 / dir by Lee Hirsch)
PG-13 / 94 mins.
 *Post-screening discussion with Dutchess Co. Mediation Center
A call to action against peer abuse in our schools, Lee Hirsch’s talked-about film follows five sobering cases of unrelenting schoolyard persecution.
The film follows Alex, dubbed “Fish Face,” as he’s harassed mercilessly on the school bus every morning; Kelby, a gay high schooler belittled at her Oklahoma school (including by her teachers) to the point that her family considers moving; Ja’Maya, a Mississippi teen who has been incarcerated since pulling a gun on the classmates who taunted her; and the families of two children who, fed up by the abuse of their peers, resorted to suicide. We hear from administrators who profess concern but remind us that “kids will be kids,” and from parents who want to hold teachers accountable for looking the other way. Cinematic and encompassing without manipulation or sentimentality, Hirsch effectively documents an issue endemic to our schools and the start of a growing national anti-bullying movement.
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