Joseph Sitzmann – Chicago, IL
Joseph Sitzmann (17)
Junior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School
Bullying: it’s prevalent in most schools throughout America, everyday. On Sunday April 15, 2012, the movie BULLY, directed by Lee Hirsch, was released in Chicago at a private screening through a partnership with BBYO. This movie elicited sniffles and tears throughout the screening as it very accurately depicts the horrifying truth behind five high school teens’ experiences of being victims to bullying. One of these children, Tyler Long, lost his life to bullying.
The privilege of seeing this in a BBYO setting allowed for better comprehension of the movie and a more meaningful experience. There was a program prior to the showing to acclimate viewers’ minds to the movie and they were debriefed afterward to follow up with their emotions. Teens and parents were shown the importance of anti-bullying efforts as Jews and why we should stand against bullying. Too often people stand by when their peers are bullied. “It’s no big deal.” “He deserved it.” “Whatever, she’s weird.” Bullying is a very big deal and no one deserves this exploitation. The movie very effectively raises awareness to this issue and begs society to make a change.
As Jewish teens in BBYO, and people in Chicago or across the country, it is our responsibility to uphold the Jewish value of Tikun Olam- repairing the world. People need to take it upon themselves to be the change they want to see in the world. Spread the word. Don’t be a bystander; stand up for victims. Tyler Long’s life might have been saved if someone took this initiative. “Every student across the entire nation must see BULLY,” said Zach Taub of Adlai E. Stevenson High School. This movie is a step in the right direction. It raises awareness to students and parents and hopefully it shows the administrations of all schools that they their institutions need to take active stances against Bullying. However, this is only the first part. The individual needs to apply what BULLY conveys and ensure that bullying no longer occurs in their schools, extracurricular, sports, etc. Smile to someone in the hall. Help someone pick up his or her books. “The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step” (Lao Tzu). Take that step and together we will see a more peaceful world. To learn more about BBYO’s anti-bullying efforts, please visit bbyo.org/bully.