Bullying: A Serious Problem

Kenna Johnson, Reporter

Self-harm, suicide, or even incriminating self-defense. The side-effects of bullying can be gruesome. But we must also acknowledge the quiet sufferers; the ones who sit in silence—taking what is thrown at them with no response, no reply. Kids can be bullied no matter their age, race, hometown, gender, etc. All backgrounds are subject to the evil of bullying. 

“Bully” produced by Lee Hirsch examines five different kids who are bullied for many different reasons and who also come from different backgrounds. The first introduced is Tyler, a boy aged 17 when he hung himself in his closet. He caved from the pressure of peers who ostracized him. Next is Alex, a boy who was 12 when they began filming. Alex is singled out for his face, haunted by the words “fishface” along with threatening remarks and physical abuse from his peers. He doesn’t share a whole lot because of the abuse and he’s always been quiet. After Alex is Kelby, a 16-year-old girl from Tuttle, Oklahoma who is bullied by not only her classmates but also her teachers for being a lesbian. She used to cut herself and has tried to commit suicide three times. Next, we meet Ja’meya, a 14-year-old girl who was incriminated for her act of self-defense. After being bullied constantly on her bus, she stole her mom’s gun and pulled it on the other kids on her bus one day and received about 44 federal charges for the incident. The last kid to be introduced is Ty, an 11-year-old boy from Perkins, Oklahoma who committed suicide with a family gun.

Hirsch’s angle is that people in power must do more to combat bullying. With every kid shown, officials were informed of the bullying and nobody did anything about it. Kids killed themselves over it. Others harmed themselves. It took 17-year-old Tyler to commit suicide for anyone to do anything about bullying at his school. Only after he died did they organize a town meeting about bullying. Sadly, it had to come to that, which is why this documentary is so amazing. It highlights the tragedy of bullying and how it can ruin people’s lives if it is overlooked. 

The documentary ends with footage of nationwide rallies to end bullying. A black screen appears with the words “everything starts with one.” If one person would have stood up to those bullies, those kids might be alive today. It’s a powerful and true statement—a perfect way to end a documentary about the ongoing and universal battle with bullying.