By Paul Langhorst
The soon-to-be released movie, 'The Bully Project' directed by Lee Hirsch, and released by The Weinstein Company (of Academy Award winning 'The Artist' fame), is stirring national interest and debate. Students across the country are petitioning to have the R-rating changed to PG-13 so that they can see it as part of class discussions.
The movie follows the lives of several students who are bullied and tormented and focuses on the family of Tyler Long, a 17-year-old boy who hanged himself due to bullying and harassment. After only having having seen the The Bully Project trailers at this point, it is clear that this is a powerful movie. It should be seen by those impacted the most - the bullies, their victims and the bystanders.
The torment that these students endure is tremendous and it is no wonder that many feel that turning to self-harm and suicide is the only way to escape. Getting bystanders engaged is a key to stopping bulling. If The Bully Project can be used as a motivational tool to encourage bystanders to act and speak up to stop bullying, then the risk of down grading the rating should be taken. Kids live the reality of bullying daily, seeing it on the "big screen" is nothing compared to real life.
The "silver lining" here is that any light that can be shed on the problem of bullying by raising awareness of the seriousness of the matter, whether caused by the movie itself or the fight over the rating, will be positive in the end.