America currently faces a bullying crisis, according to the award-winning documentary “Bully” which was screened at the Graduate School of Education Wednesday night.
Lee Hirsch, director of “Bully,” said his experiences being bullied as a child inspired the film.
The film, which depicts the lives of five families with children who were the victims of bullying over the course of one school year, was viewed by an audience of approximately 200 as part of the Askwith Forum lecture series..
Hirsch said he decided to focus on telling the stories of the children in the film, rather than exploring solutions for eradicating bullying.
“This film was truly dictated by the stories we found,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch said he hopes his film will reveal the extent of the bullying crisis in the U.S.
“I’m very happy that this film sparks a conversation,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch said he also hopes bullying comes to be viewed as a form of torture and a human rights issue.
Attendees said the film was extremely powerful and brought them to tears.
“I didn’t realize how prevalent this is in schools,” Lesley University student Anna R. Finkelstein said.
A panel following the film stressed the importance of addressing the crisis of bullying and the negative effects it can have in children’s lives.
The panelists discussed the difficulties that school administrators and teachers face in controlling bullying in the classroom.
Teachers do not receive adequate training to deal with bullying, panelists said.
Anna P. Nolin, the principal of Wilson Middle School in Natick, Mass., said she has observed firsthand the lack of moral education that school children receive.
“The life curriculum is not taught alongside the academic curriculum,” Nolin said.
This event comes two weeks before Lady Gaga will visit Harvard to launch the Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit organization promoting anti-bullying efforts.
—Staff writer Elizabeth S. Auritt can be reached at email@example.com.