The Importance of Viewing "Bully" 

STORY BY Artie Vincent

Published: May 20, 2013

In the last five years, America's biggest and growing social issue isn't drugs, guns or alcohol but rather bullying. 

It has sparked a nation-wide campaign, enacting the "Anti-bullying Legislation" as part of the National School Safety and Security Services. They are Independent groups geared to battling bullying sprouting in small Queens, N.Y. neighborhoods as well as small towns in North Carolina. The growth of enrollments at the local martial art dojos have increased significantly with the parents of kids hoping to combat the bullies. 

The most significant social enlightening came from the documentary "Bully". The 2011 film directed by Lee Hirsch and featured segments were highlighted nationally on Anderson Cooper 360. Originally the film was mired in controversy when the MPAA gave the film an R rating, which would deterred a large portion of younger demographics from viewing the film. The rating was eventually lowered to PG-13. 

The film is now available to watch instantly on Netflix, and many should take the hour and half to sit and watch. Yes, it is an uneasy experience. Hirsch goes to depths to bring the harsh realities children endure on the daily basis, and it will make families aware. For many adults, the stories of these four children may even hit a personal note, as many may have experienced bullying themselves. 

Hirsch doesn't sugarcoat the experiences of these kids living in small American towns -- the most significant scene was when the movie's hero, Alex Libby, was beaten on a school bus. It is disturbing but opens eyes across the nation. 

The reality is students are verbally and physically abuse each other more now than ever before, leading to suicides -- which was the center story of "Bully." 

Anderson Cooper has been a major advocate for the Anti-bullying campaign. In February, Cooper,  in conjunction with the Cartoon Network, premiered his short documentary called, "The Bully Effect". Cooper goes deeper on the children of the feature documentary. Cooper has tracked the transformation of the kids following the release of the film and profiled their significant changes in the documentary. 

Alex Libby, the feature film's star, has become a rock star for the anti-bullying campaign. He addresses capacity crowds as an activist, including a visit to the White House. He is model of redemption and courage. 

That is the key for Cooper, just like it is for Hirsch. They want to inspire American families and schools to fight back. 




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