Why We Can't 'Just Say No' to Bullying http://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=why%20we%20can't%20'just%20say%20no'%20to%20bullying&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CFQQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2Fdebra-chasnoff%2Fwhy-we-cant-just-say-no-t_b_1647250.html&ei=c137T-TzPMWxhAet8bWIBg&usg=AFQjCNEbhAZ2RB968qdNKKUb9lHTM1Sc7A
My concerns are mounting about some of the emerging messaging and organizing around the issue of bullying, especially connected to the film Bully. President Obama, himself, has hailed the director of the film, and Mitt Romney's anti-gay high school violent behavior is national news. When you factor in the increasing attention to so-called zero-tolerance policies and the frequent announcement of new anti-bullying initiatives, and it is clear that the manner in which our national discourse evolves on this issue couldn't be more timely -- or critical.
Don't get me wrong. Bully is a moving documentary that deserves the attention it is receiving and one that I, too, would urge parents, in particular, to see. But, when I went to a screening, I left the theater wondering about what message the film is leaving with viewers, particularly with students, its primary target audience.
The closing scene in Bully showcases a rally where people touched by youth-on-youth harassment release balloons and call for an end to bullying. While heart-warming, this gesture is far too simple a solution to a phenomenon that is steeped in and abetted by unexamined bias.
The best thing that could come out of the mass attention to Bully and other new anti-bullying efforts would be that parents, politicians and educators joined together and did far more than put up posters saying "No Bullies Allowed" or offer speeches and incomplete policies that don't really do the job. We need to roll up our sleeves, take some risks, and open up real dialogue in our school communities about these deeply entrenched, and often politically sanctioned, biases.