The Huffington Post: Middle School, Bully and What We Should Do Now

April 26th, 2012

The Huffington Post
April 26, 2012
By Barbara Greenberg




After weeks of waiting for the documentary Bully to come to my neck of the woods, it finally arrived. I got to the earliest showing of the movie to see just what Lee Hirsch had captured in his documentary about the lives of middle schoolers on the school bus, during recess, at the bus stop and at all of those other hot spots where kids ruthlessly torment each other with a blistering style.

And Kudos to Lee Hirsch. He captured these moments not only as I remember them from my middle school days (then referred to as junior high school), but also as reported to me by the many middle schoolers who I have worked with for two decades. Believe me, the main characters have changed but the plot lines have not. You see, bullies seem to use the same methodology. There is no one in authority around so this must — they tell themselves — be a great opportunity to find a less-than-aggressive kid and torture him until he feels helpless and downtrodden. The backpack, hat, jacket, locker and all things related to the victim can be destroyed, tossed around, marked up and become community property. What the heck –there’s no adult around and this passive victim won’t do anything about it. Better yet, if the target has a physical feature that is not fabulous, then that can become the focus of the bullying remarks. In the movie, Alex had large and full lips. The bullies loved it. His lips became a source of entertainment. Later on in life they may have girlfriends, sisters or even wives who pay to get their lips plumped up, but hey, that’s not of concern to them now.

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