HomeOpinionSave a life, drop out: “Bully” and the case for home-schooling

viagra pills 20411-175515-pic-11828458_s630x405″ width=”300″ height=”192″ class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-57365″ />By Noah Berlatsky, Washington Times – You can laugh at nutty right-wingers who home-school their kids because they don’t want them to learn about evolution; you can sneer at dirty hippies who unschool their kids at home because they can’t be tied to the Man’s curriculum, man. Laugh and sneer all you want, but those home-schooled and unschooled kids are not being hounded to death — literally, in a case documented on-screen in “Bully” — by their peers.

I have an 8-year-old child, and I can say that watching this documentary about bullying in schools was more viscerally disturbing than sitting through almost any horror movie I can think of.

Horror movies generally try to scare you with hyperbolic blood and guts, or at least with the intimation of larger-than-life evil. “Bully,” on the other hand, is stomach-churning because it’s so cravenly insignificant.

In Lee Hirsch’s documentary — recut to earn a PG-13 rating and opening nationally on Friday — kids poke 14-year-old Alex with pencils on the bus; classmates refuse to sit by 16-year-old Kelby; 17-year-old Tyler Long has his clothes stolen while he showers so he has to walk across the gym naked. Students idly fantasize about cutting each other’s faces off and call each other “bitch” or “faggot” (at least in the film’s original version, which was rated R largely because of such language).

It’s all little squabbles that administrators can dismiss as kids being kids. And it is kids being kids — but one potential thing kids do when they’re being kids is torment each other so viciously that somebody like Tyler feels he has no recourse but to hang himself in his closet.

The fact that those who are bullied have no recourse is, of course, why the endless stream of petty stuff becomes insupportable. Tyler felt he had no way out — and he had a point.

Administrators at Tyler’s school failed over and over to prevent the attacks on him; school officials even fail to show up at a town meeting discussing the tragedy after Tyler’s death.

Parents, too, often seem stymied. In an extremely painful scene, Alex’s father interrogates him about the abuse he suffers on the bus, telling him that if he doesn’t stand up for himself, his younger sister will be singled out next. His sister then tells Alex that kids already pick on her because of him. So imagine you are 13 years old and your father tells you that because you get beaten up you’re putting your beloved sister in danger. If you can’t fight back effectively, what do you do? More…


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