October 26, 2017
I offer my most sincere thanks to the parents who were able to join us last evening for our screening of the documentary Bully. As we indicated earlier, and as I detailed before the film, we have been using the film as part of our month long focus on confronting and defeating bullying behavior in our school community. (If you were unable to attend and would like to view the documentary, please contact Mrs. Hassler in the school office for suggestions on how to obtain a copy. You can also visit the Bully Project website for more resources.)
As I stood in front of the parents after the screening and witnessed, and quite frankly, shared in, the raw emotions that the movie provokes in us as parents, I made the decision not to lead a group discussion. I believe we all needed time to absorb and reflect upon a message that was not only heartbreaking, but disturbing and infuriating. The film struck very close to home for many of as parents and as individuals in our own right, and I was not confident I could keep my emotions under control.
Thank you also to the many parents who have since reached out to us in hopes of continuing the conversation and offering to help us shape a community where these behaviors are confronted and corrected. I truly believe that the Catholic faith, that is central to our mission, gives us very clear directions on how to treat one another. But I also believe we are combatting a much larger culture where bullying behavior is commonplace and in some strange way, acceptable. Our call to discipleship compels us to recognize selfishness and unkindness in ourselves and in others, and to work tirelessly to prevent the behavior and protect one another.
We are attempting to schedule a follow up presentation by Kirk Smalley, one of the parents from the documentary, and will keep you informed as we develop more parent and student programming and opportunities for education and conversation.
My one recommendation for reflection is that we remain vigilant to ensure our children are not the victims of bullying behavior, but that we also honestly observe them to see if they are engaging in bullying behavior in their own right. We can all do better.