Thursday, February 28, 2013

AC360 airs "The Bully Effect" to follow up on Hirsch film


Tonight, Anderson Cooper’s AC360 aired the one-hour report “The Bully Effect”, to follow up on the documentary  film “Bully” one year ago (review on Movies bog, April 14, 2012), by Lee Hirsch (from The Weinstein Company).
   
The teenager Alex appeared, and seemed to have outgrown his past and is now a bit of a celebrity. Of course, he is now much more mature than he was when the film was shot.

The early part of the CNN report focuses heavily on physical bullying, and it seems shocking that school systems tolerate it.  
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Anderson also conducts a panel discussion, explaining how bullying is much worse in some ways now than it used to be because of social media, and this may affect girls more than boys. 
  
The hour did some followup from the film as there is more progress in developing interest in hate crimes bills in Congress. 
  
The program aired a particularly disturbing excerpt from the Hirsch film, where a middle school guidance counselor blames the victim of bullying for not forgiving the tormentor and “meaning it” when she makes him shake hands.  That makes him as guilty as the perpetrator, according to her.  It would appear that this particular female teacher wants to impress on the victim that it is "his" responsibility to develop and share the perils of the group, and to focus on his responsibility, not on the wrong done to him by others.  Of course, in this situation it comes across as cruel.  The administrators really don't stop the aggression by others.  And later a school administrator tells parents she can’t stop bullying on school buses.

The documentary emphasizes the responsibility of bystanders, and defines the "bystander effect" with a class exercise.

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