If you came to this page because you are being bullied and need help, there is help available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit the Trevor Project which has a hotline and online text-chat avaialble 24/7. You are not alone. You deserve to be protected. Click here or call 866-488-7386
Bullied - Life in Middle School
Hiding... praying that they won't see you... waiting until a half hour after school lets out to go home before making a hasty escape, hoping everyone else will have already gone home... never going to the bathroom... Avoiding the lunchroom, eating in an empty classroom instead... But no matter what you do, almost every day, they'll get you. Words turn into shoves, slaps, punches, kicks, it escalates. You beg for help but the teachers and administrators turn a blind eye. Worse yet, they blame you. "Toughen up!" "Stop acting like a sissie." You come home with a bloody nose, a black eye, bruises. Maybe your parents call the school. Maybe they come to school and meet with the principal. Nothing happens. It only gets worse.
"Faggot!" "Queer!" "Homo!"
That was my daily diet in middle school in the 1970's. No one deserves to be treated that way yet thousands, perhaps millions of children go through it every single day. It goes way beyond "being picked on" or even harassment, it is torture. Not only are you afraid it will never end, but you become convinced that sooner or later, these kids might kill you. Drinking and doing drugs, skipping school, running away from home, attempting suicide, or committing violence against the bullies seemed like the only way to escape.
Over thirty years later it may seem like nothing has changed BUT much has changed. Across the country there are programs to prevent bullying and help children who are being or have been bullied. In many communities, in many schools, people are starting to act. Some do so because they don't want children to suffer. Others are doing something out of fear of lawsuits. I'm thankful for any reason it takes to get schools, teachers, parents, local and national leaders to stand up and say enough is enough, and do something about this national sickness. Even the President of the United States has weighed in on the bullying problem.
Time to STOP Ignoring Bullying and DO Something About It!
Could I ever have imagined back in 1974 that another student, years later, would sue his schools over the same kind of treatment I'd lived with every day... and win? With the help of Lambda Legal Defense, Jamie Nabozny did. And now, because of that landmark case and decision, teachers, parents, administrators, and students can learn from his story, his struggle, and his victory to help create safe schools for everyone. Perhaps if his story were more well-known, if more schools took advantage of the resources available today to stop bullying, children like Brandon will have some hope that their lives can get better.
Bullied - A Teaching Tolerance Documentary
I've just watched Bullied - A Teaching Tolerance Documentary and I urge every school, every faith community childrens/youth ministry leader, every social service organization that works with children, to get a FREE copy of the DVD and viewer's guide and use it as one of the tools to make your community, your school, your classroom, your center, your home a safe place for every child. Teaching Tolerance is a project of The Southern Poverty Law Center and has done incredible work to foster acceptance, inclusion, compassion, and community-building in schools across the country. Now they have created a powerful documentary and teaching guide that is available for free to every school in America.
Bullied is a documentary film that chronicles one student’s ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today. It can become a cornerstone of anti-bullying efforts in middle and high schools.
A 40-minute documentary film (DVD), with closed captioning and with Spanish subtitles
A two-part viewer’s guide with standards-aligned lesson plans and activities for use in staff development
Additional materials online
Bullied is designed to help administrators, teachers and counselors create a safer school environment for all students, not just those who are gay and lesbian. It is also intended to help all students understand the terrible toll bullying can take on its victims, and to encourage students to stand up for their classmates who are being harassed.
It Gets Better
There's a national campaign happening to help kids realize that they can get help if they are being bullied, and that bullying isn't cool. Here's Justin Bieber letting kids know that "It Gets Better."
In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.
Two months later, the It Gets Better Project (TM) has turned into a worldwide movement, inspiring over 5000 user-created videos and over 15 million views. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of "Glee", Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google and Facebook, the Broadway community, and many more. For us, every video changes a life. It doesn’t matter who makes it.
The website www.itgetsbetterproject.com is a place where young people who are lesbian, gay, bi, or trans can see how love and happiness can be a reality in their future. It’s a place where our straight allies can visit and support their friends and family members. It’s a place where people can share their stories, take the It Gets Better Project pledge, watch videos of love and support, and seek help through the Trevor Project and GLSEN.
Bully - A Powerful Film and Teacher Guide
Across the country school districts and other organizations are working to help 1 million children get to see Bully. San Mateo County, Reach And Teach's hometown, sent over 4,000 children to see the film. We got to meet Alex Libby, one of the young people shown in the film and the film's director Lee Hirsch and urge parents, teachers, faith groups, and others who work with children to get as many children as possible to see this film. The shift in attitudes of those who see the film, moving them from bystanders to upstanders, is one of the keys to putting a dent in the pandemic of bullying.
Click here to order the DVD and Teacher Guide from The Bully Project.
Click here to check out our story about meeting Alex Libby along with our review of the fantastic book, Wonder.
About the Film:
Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The new documentary film BULLY, directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families.
BULLY is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America's bullying crisis. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy "kids will be kids" clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.
I Think of A Dragon - Becoming an Upstander Instead of a Bystander
Reach And Teach friends Nancy Schimmel and Judy Fjell have written and recorded a wonderful song which they are graciously making available here. You can play the song for kids or use the sheet music to teach the song and have a singalong. In the song a child (or it could even be an adult) wishes to have a dragon to stand by her side when bullies are being mean, not only because a dragon could scare the bullies but because when a situation gets tense, two heads... are better than one. What I love about the song (spoiler alert - don't read any more if you want to listen to the song first), is that the key message is that we have to stand up for each other, even when we are scared. If it takes thinking of a dragon next to you to give you the strength to stand up, that's fine. But stand up we must! Because when it comes to someone being bullied... two heads, or three, or four, or a dozen, are better than one!
In the last few years the issue of CyberBullying has become to gain recognition as being as serious as, if not more serious than "in person" bullying. OnlineColleges.org recently created this InfoGraphic about it.
We believe that the seeds of violence are planted and take root at a very young age. That's why we're committed to providing our partners in peacemaking with as many resources as possible to reduce and perhaps some day eliminate bullying. Below are just some of the products we have evaluated and chosen to recommend. If you know of other resources we should feature (free or for purchase), please click here to let us know about them! Together, we can work to create a world where no child has to go home in tears because of bullying, AND, the children who are bullies can also be helped to overcome their problems.