Bully is a moving, vital and responsible must-see documentary directed by Lee Hirsch that serves as an allegedly “controversial” wake-up call for responsible human beings to address the heartbreaking headline issue of schoolyard bullying that is resulting in so many teenage suicides. “Controversial” for only one reason: It had been stupidly assigned an “R” rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, denying access to the teen audiences who are both victims and perpetrators of bullying—the very demographic that can best be served, educated, informed and ameliorated by the civic values it teaches. (The Weinstein Company has since decided to release the film unrated.) There’s an important movement building to pressure the MPAA to change the rating for Bully to “PG13” to benefit students of all ages in addition to their parents, teachers, families and friends. More about that below. First, let me assure you there’s a lot to learn from this touching and tender look at troubled youth today—not endangered by drugs or gangs, but by each other.
Mr. Hirsch follows five examples of bullying over the course of one school year. The results are mostly sad, but sometimes enriched with hope, and always avoidable, inexcusable and unnecessary in a free and privileged society like America’s.
For many years—decades, in fact—there has been a discernible pattern of migration from the five boroughs. Young singles get married, have babies and then start thinking about safe streets, good schools and picket fences. So they trade city life for a three-bedroom home in the suburbs.
Now, however, that pattern may be subject to change. According to the latest census data, more people moved to the city than moved out last year. Some 252,000 people moved to the city last year, while about 220,000 left for parts unknown. Generally, those numbers are the reverse.
The new figures illustrate a few points, all of them good.
Occupy Wall Street
On Monday afternoon, several men and women sat in a circle in the atrium of the American headquarters of the Deutsche Bank at 60 Wall Street. They were talking about their needs. Their need to be heard, their need for community, their need for sleep, their need for respect. Tasha Endres, a young German woman with a soft voice, wearing a light blue sweater, led the group through a series of exercises. The course in Nonviolent Communication Training takes more than two hours to complete, but it is “strongly suggested” if you want to join one of the groups in Occupy Wall Street’s Safety Cluster.
“I feel the need to go to another meeting,” one girl announced near the end of the session.
“Great! Thank you for participating!” chirped Ms. Endres, who has been working with the Center for Collaborative Communication—which is affiliated with the Center for Nonviolent Communication—for five years as a trainer/facilitator.
The nonviolence seminar is one of many that Occupy Wall Streeters can now take to deal with conflicts that arise in the camp. It teaches a four-point check-list: the first step is Observation, where we identify what it is that we hear or see that is so upsetting; second, taking stock of our feelings (like “anger” or “sadness”); third, finding the universal Need behind those feelings (needs can be physical, emotional or mental, and there are at least 60 of them listed on a chart being passed around); fourth, using Curiosity to guess the needs of the troublesome party, and finally coming to a resolution through Empathy.
We raise our hand. “What if you don’t have time to take stock of your feelings or needs? What if you feel like you are in danger?”
On Friday, a woman biking in Williamsburg became the latest victim of a hit-and-run on New York City streets, and she remains in the ICU, according to Gothamist. If only there was someone who could have helped her…
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz insists he is no enemy of bike lanes, even as he Read More
When the city put new dedicated bus lanes on First and Second avenues, they paired them with protected bike lanes, as well, albeit only from 14th Street south.
Transit advocates showed up to City Hall today with more than 2,500 letters calling on the mayor to extend the bike lanes all the way to Read More