Bully, an upcoming documentary that looks at physical violence and verbal abuse among kids, will soon be making its way to a theater near you. The movie looks at how bullying has affected five kids and their families, the pain they have been through, and how the problem is addressed (or ignored) in schools.
The preview is powerful and moving and the movie looks like it will be an important film for kids to see. However, the MPAA is saddling the movie with an R rating due to the language used in the film, language that’s at the heart of the problem. This is a problem because an R rating will prevent many kids from seeing the film. Further, it will prevent the movie from ever being shown in schools, where it is needed most.
Yes, the filmmakers could bleep out every curse and epithet, but that would neuter the power of the movie. The movie is about the ability of words to hurt. How effective will the message be if those words were censored?
Without getting into the politics of the MPAA and their assignment of ratings, this is a movie that needs a PG-13 rating. It must have a PG-13 rating, so more kids can see it, so it can be shared. To that end, there is a petition at change.org that’s nearly up to a half million signatures. Let’s help push it over the top.
Bullying continues to be a real problem. Even with all the anti-bullying initiatives, bullying still affects more than 13 million kids in the United States every year. As geeks, many of us have been marginalized by this awful cruelty. Now’s the time to say “no more.” Please take a moment to sign the petition to help make Bully more widely available, heighten awareness of this problem, and make schools and the world safer for all kids.