Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Educators Association, told attendees at last night’s screening of “Bully” that they were in for “an exciting, wonderful evening.” But clearly he was exaggerating. By the end of the film, half the audience, mostly female teachers, was sobbing and probably in need of a Xanax.
“Bully” is a documentary directed by Lee Hirsch about children who face ridicule and bullying at school. Two cases featured in the film concern kids, one 11 and another 17, who committed suicide after being picked on for years.
It was stirring and emotional, upsetting even. But not really “exciting” or “wonderful.”
The screening was held at the NEA’s headquarters on 16th street, NW.
Following the film WaPo‘s Jonathan Capehart moderated a discussion with Van Roekel, Hirsch, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, National Center for Learning Disabilities Director James Wendorf, Katie Butler of Change.org and Jackie Libby, the mother of one of the children in the film.
“Bully” will be released in theaters April 23. See here for more information.
Important side note: The NEA headquarters bathroom facilities are probably the most environmentally friendly place on Earth. That is to say, highly inconvenient for everyone. To activate the sink faucet, you have to move your hands around like a magician to trip the “hands-free” sensor. And the paper towel dispensers offer exactly three inches of paper per use. On the plus side, a slew of unhealthy snacks like potato chips, Wise popcorn, soda and chocolate chip and raisin cookies were aplenty before the show.