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If you followed the Youth Violence Prevention blog series just last week, you know that banishing the bully is so important for our youth today. Many children and teens face bullying at school, on the bus, or at after school programs and on sports teams. As much as we all want to find a way to banish the bully, it is a difficult task to undertake. You can tell a bully, “Stop, be nice to others.” but does it really work? Does the bully listen? The odds are no. Bullies don’t realize the impact of their actions until they see them face to face, often times when their victim has been put down so much their self- esteem is almost non-existent.  They don’t realize that bullying can impact a person’s life for much longer than just that one day. It is a memory that lingers, especially when bullied repeatedly. This is something that no one should have to endure and we need to raise awareness and it must be stopped.

Coming to theaters this today, March 30th, is a documentary titled “Bully” which depicts the true stories of teens and their daily encounters with bullying. This documentary has great potential to reach the audience who is suffering the most from bullying, yet the MMPA (Motion Picture Association of America) initially rated  the movie R, which banned the target audience of teens from being able to see the movie without a parent.

The MMPA gave the film the R rating due to strong language and violence. Why? It’s not as if most teens under 17 years old have never heard strong language before, whether in their homes, school or their community. To be quite honest, they are likely to be subjected to it on a daily basis.

Why would a movie titled “Bully” only be allowed for people 17 and older? This would mean that the target audience would be unable to view a movie that would potentially generate a change of heart and raise awareness of the impacts of bullying.  A Michigan high school student, Katy Butler, a victim of bullying herself, started a petition to downgrade the documentary “Bully” from its R rating to PG-13.

Because of this petition and increasing number of  complaints, the MMPA has stated that the movie will now be unrated, leaving it up to the theater to decide which age range will view the film.

I know over the weekend I will be seeing this movie. I think that it is so important to “banish the bully“. No one should have to be afraid to go to school. No one should have to be afraid of someone else, anywhere. To get more details of the film and The Bully Project, visit http://thebullyproject.com/# .

Take a close look at the “Advocates” tab on the home page. Please support the cause that has been overlooked for so many years.

Brittney Nowak
AWP Intern

P.S. Another insightful link about Bully, The Blog from the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marshall-fine/bully-movie-review_b_1384230.html

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