Director of ‘Bully’ to speak in PAC Friday

Sonya Francis

Album and film covers used under fair use exception to copyright laws.
The much awaited True/ False Film Festival arrives in Columbia March 1-4, and RBHS students will get a sneak peak at one of the whirlwind of documentaries coming to town.
Students here have a head start of seeing “Bully” at 11:45 a.m. in the PAC. Teachers were invited to bring their classes at no charge. Award winning director Lee Hirsch will speak about the film; alongside him will be a few of the subjects from the documentary.
“True False does such a good job of reaching to the Columbia school district,” Assistant Principal David Bones said. “The festival has given lots of opportunity to students to participate. And the subject of bullying is obviously timely topic and is important for our kids and school.”
The film exposes five different stories of family and students who have felt the extreme effects of bullying. Each story has an up close and personal view into the lives that will forever be changed by the cruel actions of others. The movie, which began in 2009, shows issues of racial, ethnic, geographical and economic limitations.
Not only does the documentary share these stories but it will also display the reactions of adults that turn their heads in the other direction, people who dismiss the problem and reactions from school administration.
In light of the tragic shooting in Chardon, Ohio Monday, some students realize this topic could not be more timely.
“I think it’s something pretty much every high school should see. Realistically I think there will be a little bit of, ‘Oh, we’re not like that,’ or ‘We don’t do that.’ But I think if people watch the movie openly, they will be like, ‘Wow, that kid I picked on in P.E. class. Wow, I didn’t know he felt like that,’ or ‘I didn’t know that he did that.’ I think in the past bullying has been like a joke: ‘Just let the boys work it out,” senior Cooper Bloom said. “But I don’t think it should be like that anymore and that we need to move past that. It’s more than just in the movies.”
RBHS administrators say they go to great lengths to try to take action concerning bullying. The administrative team has several steps at its disposal, each going to a new degree to try and solve the issue, if bullying is suspected, assistant principal Lisa Nieuwenhuizen said. The district tries to step in when needed. With any luck on our side the showing here, this Friday will open some students eyes.
“I hope it is thought provoking and it makes people actually think before they do things that are hateful to one another,” Nieuwenhuizen said. “All Columbia public schools have a zero tolerance for bullying. When we are aware of a situation we always pull parties and try to mediate, that’s our first step to try and figure out what the issue you is and try to help them resolve their issue.”
Bloom said the merits of this movie and the festival in general underscore how special Columbia is.
“I enjoy good cinematography; I also really like a good story, and I think that this movie has a really solid message that maybe people don’t know about or that people ignore,” Bloom said. “I think it will draw attention to that. And I also think it will draw attention to our little town here because we have such an important movie being shown.”
 By Sonya Francis