With the Friday, March 30 limited release of the movie “Bully,” once again this difficult issue is being presented in an important national forum. We applaud the efforts to create a dialogue and show a sympathetic view of the pain affected students are experiencing.
At the same time, as advocates of bullying prevention, we want to caution our community to understand bullying and suicide are very complex issues. We encourage parents and teachers to take a careful look at the movie before allowing your child or student to view it.
We do not endorse any political views but did want to share with you a passage from an article written by Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon who interviewed Ann Haas, a senior project specialist for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
She quoted Haas as saying “Hirsch (Director of “Bully”) has created a real risk of suicide contagion—the documented phenomenon of people mimicking suicidal behavior in light of media representations. “I worry terribly about the contagion effect,” Haas said. “One message of this move is: ‘Bullying kills’—as if it’s a normal response to kill yourself, when of course most people who are bullied don’t do that.”
At the end of the day, we all have to be careful that we are not incorrectly portraying the issue of bullying which does a huge disservice to students and our entire community.
Students Taking A Right Stand (STARS) has been on the forefront of bullying prevention in our community by working with students, teachers, schools and families to address this serious issue through a variety of solution-based techniques. If you have any questions or need assistance, STARS specialists are located in most schools throughout the Nashville area or you can call 615-279-0058. In addition, we encourage anyone with concerns to contact the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network at 615-297-1077 or www.tspn.org.