Bully Rated PG-13 to Reach Wider Audience

Steven Wetterholm, Staff Writer

B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, or BBYO, is one of the world’s leading Jewish youth groups committed to the respect and inclusion of all people, inspiring teens to live productive Jewish lives and to make a positive difference in the world.  BBYO is making a difference by sponsoring viewings of Bully, a documentary film that shines a light on the bullying crisis in schools across America.

With the sobering stories of teen suicide in response to bullying littering the headlines, BBYO worked to bring the film to as many teens as possible;  However, due to the film’s graphic language, the film’s “R” rating precludes some teens from viewing it. The same goes for screenings of “R” rated movies in American schools, according to history teacher Paul Verbanszky.

Junior Maya Harlev, who belongs to the Oakland BBG#2 chapter of BBYO, helped solve the rating problem:  “We partnered with the Stand-up organization to reduce the movie rating from ‘R’ to ‘PG-13‘ so that more students could view the film,” explained Harlev.  BBYO was successful with its petition, and a rating change to “PG-13” was granted  after the film company toned down the movie’s profanity for Bully‘s April 13th wide release.

Harlev viewed a BBYO advanced screening of Bully at the Metreon in San Francisco.  “The film was amazing, inspirational, and touching, showing how anyone can be a bully and revealing how administrations don’t always respond to bullying.”

Harlev explained that BBYO is now involved in the cause to stop bullying.  She believes that the movie will make a long term impact, especially since the stories in the movie are real with actual scenes of bullying and children trying to kill themselves because of the bullying.

Senior Emma Helser plans to see Bully in the near future and believes that the movie will make people realize that bullying is a major problem today.  “I think that by having bullying on the movie screen instead of just being on the news is a very important step because people seem to be watching more movies than the news these days,” said Helser.

Sophomore Spencer Nichols admitted that “Campo has its share of bullying, but overall Campo is a relatively nice, well-mannered school.”  Having been bullied herself in high school, junior Molly Heistand believes that there has always been bullying in schools across the country and that little will change “until every teen stands up and says ‘This is wrong, why are we doing this?’ ”  Heistand believes that there is bullying everywhere in schools and that there has been forever.  However, she is hopeful for the future and believes that with movies like Bully, there has been and will be a sustained cessation of bullying.