“I Believe in Hope”

Posted April 16, 2012 by jimhigley

If you are unsure as to whether or not you should see the new documentary, “Bully”, I hope you will read this. 

“I don’t believe in luck. But I believe in hope.”

If you were to read those words on the back of a t-shirt, or on a bumper sticker, you might not think twice.

Read them again. And imagine them being spoken by  young 12-year-old from Sioux City, Iowa. His name is Alex Libby. And he’s a kid – like hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of kids in our country who live in a world where others treat them like animals. Alex is one of the sweet kids featured in the new documentary, Bully. Unfortunately, his story is all too familiar.

Kids call Alex “Fish Face” in reference to the physical appearance of his face. That’s the tame part. On the school bus, his seat mate tells him, “I will f-ing end you, and stuff a broomstick up your a%^.”  And when Alex’s parents confront school administrators about what’s going on within the confines of the bus, they are told that the children onboard are all angels.

“I don’t believe in luck. But I believe in hope.”

I had to hold back a gush of tears when Alex said those words. He was sharing his outlook on life. Is this an acceptable world where kids have to hold on to hope in order to get through their days? I’ve heard many say that bullies have been around forever and we’re overreacting to it.

I disagree.

And truthfully, I don’t care if bullies have been around forever. It’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable to put our kids in an environment that is unsafe. It’s not acceptable to not hold other kids accountable for harming others – physically or mentally. It’s not acceptable for school administrators or teachers to look the other way. And it’s not acceptable for parents to feel a lack of support in protecting their own children.

It’s too big of an issue.

And I certainly don’t have the answers.

But I do think a healthy place for all of us to start is to go see this movie. Parents, teachers, children, everyone. We need to start somewhere to discuss what is going on.

And I hope you’ll find a couple hours in the coming weeks to do so.

Prove Alex right. The kid believes in hope. And you are part of that hope.

 

 

 

 

  • Anonymous

    How timely. We all get bullied or even bully at some point in our lives. It’s important to keep talking about it. We all feel like we don’t fit in at one point or another. We celebrate these differences at domesticsquarepeg.com and are thrilled to see that you do too at Bobblehead Dads.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mr.aion Justin Aion

    I am very excited to see this movie.  I’m a public school teacher in a low-income urban district and I see this happening everywhere.  There are two pieces that I find the most frustrating.

    1) The students don’t even realize that what they are doing is bullying.  They poke fun at each other all the time and there can be a thin line between joking around and bullying.  It’s often hard for them to know the difference.  It’s often hard for ME to know the difference as I know that I’m guilty of the same thing.

    2) There  are so many other problems in my school (drugs, fights, pregnancy, etc. I teach 8th grade…) that bullying often doesn’t register.  I spend so much of my time in class trying to reign in behavior so that I can hopefully get a few moments of instruction that I have let some incidents of bullying go.  They simply were not big enough to take priority.  I hate this.  I wish that I could stop the bullying, but the resources simply don’t exist.  I do what I can I want to do better.

    That’s just the opinion of this teacher.  I can’t speak for others and I know that there are certainly those in my district who believe that “schoolyard antics” toughen the kids so they can deal with the real world.  Bullying doesn’t just happen at school.  We are often bullied by our administrators, who are in turn bullied by the school board members, who are in turn bullied by the tax payers.  Parents bully teachers and kids as well.  We often make educational decisions based on what will cause us the least stress.

    It is sad but true.  I could continue, but I fear I have already taken up too much of your time, if you’re reading this far.

  • Melissa Thompson

    JIm, 

    I have been afraid to see the movie because of the cruelty that it shows the world.  But, that is the chicken way out.  Now I will go and try to add my voice to the others so that this thin line can be made into resources to help teachers like Justin and children like Alex. 

    Melissa