The feeling of aloneness is one of the most painful consequences of bullying, writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times, regarding “Bully,” the Lee Hirsch documentary movie. Scott blames adults for failing to protect children from bullying. In a review entitled “Behind Every Harassed Child? A Whole Lot of Clueless Adults” Scott says that the feeling of aloneness is also, in some ways, a cause of bullying. He writes:
It is almost always socially isolated children (the new kid, the fat kid, the gay kid, the strange kid) who are singled out for mistreatment. For some reason — for any number of reasons that hover unspoken around the edges of Mr. Hirsch’s inquiry — adults often fail to protect their vulnerable charges.
Comments on the documentary website reveal bullying takes place in the workplace as well as in the schools. For instance:
I am a college professor. I have been the victim of workplace bullying for 8+. Police were called about the harassment three times; I have suffered two nervous breakdowns, and I’m currently on medical leave. My career and my health have been destroyed. My administration has acknowledged the harassment; but they have done nothing to effectively address the situation; because….
I have experienced bullying for the first time in my life. I have been detained for two hours at a time over weekends, during which my boss stares at me and repeats the same rhetorical questions over and over again, sighing and shaking her head in despair when I can no longer think of a suitable answer to the same question. This questioning is so that she can “understand” the problem (which has been resolved long ago) and take “remedial” action. She never gets violent or raises her voice, although she has impugned my integrity. She uses words from her pedagogy manuals to “correct” me; she demanded my computer password so that she can read my emails. For the first time in my life I dread going to work….
The April 10 program at Princeton Public Library, sponsored by Not in Our Town Princeton and other organizations, aims to offer ways for both adults and students to solve “The Bystanders Dilemma,” how to react when bullying occurs.
The national organization of Not in Our Town is contributing to the discussion by sponsoring teaching guides to the movie through a related organization, Not in Our School.
For help on workplace bullying, go to New York Healthy Workplace Advocates.
For ways to help students resist bullying, visit the Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum in Ewing, New Jersey.
The trailer for the documentary shows the bullies persecuting the child — and then shows the principal telling the mother “I’ve BEEN on that bus — they are as good as gold!”