Here’s the problem with bullying, as Lee Hirsch delineates so brilliantly in his new documentary Bully: Half of the people reading this don’t even think bullying is a problem. “Kids will be kids,” they say. “Kids can be cruel.” “Bullying is a natural part of growing up.”
Parents of bullied kids are likewise unaware. Since the bullied kids are usually embarrassed, they tend not to tell their folks the extent of the torment. And when they do speak up, their ordeal is often trivialized—“smile more,” the parents might say. “Learn to defend yourself,” etc. etc.
School administrators are defensive about the subject, which carries the intimation that they are not protecting their charges. And to avoid potential liability, they want to shift the blame squarely back on the shoulders of the parents.
And so it goes. A perfect storm of inaction—with bullied kids paying the ultimate price.
Are there more teen suicides these days as a result of bullying? I don’t know. I suspect the problem has been under the radar for generations. But not anymore. Bullying is finally getting the attention as a serious social plague that it deserves, largely because of Dan Savage’s galvanizing “It Gets...