Bully Film Misses Obvious Solution: Abandon School (and Let Youth Create Their Own Education)!

18 March 2013 Categories: children's rights, public school

(Official Bully movie poster)

I reviewed the film documentary, Bully on Amazon.com. Documenting and exposing the reality of children being tormented by peers in traditional schools is commendable. The humanizing footage of the bullied children, including footage of their emotional suffering and home-video of them at various stages of their childhoods, was painfully powerful. The film’s exposé of the infuriating  incompetence, minimization and victim-blaming shown by the adults towards the victimized children was outstanding. Of course, the stories of  the children who took their own lives were  some of the most heartwrenching “wake-up calls” in the film.

However, despite these strengths, I gave the film only a three-star rating for the following reasons:

1. The film failed to address that the root causes of peer bullying are child maltreatment by adults and the child-subordinating power structure of schooling itself.

2. The film failed to state that the most obvious immediate solution to protect bullied youth is for parents to rescue their children by abandoning the schools.

The film also left viewers with a false sense of “hope”. Emotional community rallies, slogans on bracelets, pledges, Facebook groups and bringing passionate speakers to schools will not put an end a problem that is a symptom of a much larger problem: The inhumane way children are treated by adults in Industrialized culture.

Following is my review of Bully on Amazon:


This film misses the obvious solution: Homeschool!

This film is a heartbreaking account of several children who have been tormented by harassment and verbal and physical abuse in school. The most tragic stories are of those youth who were driven to the point where they took their own lives.

I rated this film a three-star because although the anti-bullying rallies and projects are a way to help families heal and bring solidarity to victims, they are mere band-aids on the true causes of bullying: Child maltreatment and confinement.

I have been working with youth of all ages in various roles, including as a mental health counselor, social worker, mentor and educator. I am a homeschooling single mother. Children treat others with violence and hatred when their needs are not met, when they are tormented, abused and neglected at home by their parents and families and when they are forced to attend the prison-like hierarchical environments of factory schooling. The entire power structure of schools, with adults having total power and control over the lives, movement, bodily functions and thoughts of children sets up a dangerous dynamic amongst a group of youth forced to associate in such conditions. Many school teachers are rude, sarcastic, disrespectful, controlling, abusive and use their position to lash out and act out their own personal control issues onto the children. Teachers model bullying by their very position over children.

The entire structure of schooling sets youth up to be powerless and voiceless. Youth lash out against the apathy to their basic needs and against the neglect of their needs for freedom, play, creativity, autonomy and joy by developing a toxic youth culture that adults can’t penetrate, despite their attempts, threats and surveillance. Youth in schools set up their own power structures, usually based upon superficial criteria. Youth feel the power and control they lack by segregating into groups and even by targeting and abusing other youth. Rallies, bracelets, slogans, initiatives, curriculum and school talks about bullying are not going to stop this abuse of children because they fail to address the way adults treat children in Industrialized culture.

I also rated this film a three-star because this film ignored the most obvious solution that a growing number of families are joyfully choosing daily: Homeschooling and unschooling! The best way to change a system that refuses to change is to walk away from it. If enough families abandon schools and either homeschool or unschool or begin establishing child-led learning communities right in their towns and cities, the indomitable power structure of schooling would fail.

Parents, your children’s lives, your children’s mental health, your children’s safety are worth more than school. Our society’s bizarre, unchallenged belief that school is a necessity and that the absence of school is akin to death is causing death to be the answer for so many suffering youth.

If your child is suffering any form of bullying, remove your child from school and research unschooling TODAY. Do NOT force your child to take the abuse for another day! Would you tolerate what they are forced to tolerate? Protect your child and help him or her restore a healthy sense of self worth, safety and self love by allowing your child to live and learn naturally, as people did for millennia until 1852. Yes, parents with minimal income and full time jobs and single parents CAN do it with sacrifice and creativity! Tap into homeschool groups and community activities. Allow your child to follow his or her passions and interests. Whatever you do, don’t keep sending your child back for another dose of torture- You are not aware of their breaking point. As someone who works directly with youth who are victims or bullies (and often both at the same time) and as someone who has personal experience [with this issue] as well, I can tell you, SCHOOL IS NOT WORTH THE DAMAGE IT CAUSES.

2 Responses to “Bully Film Misses Obvious Solution: Abandon School (and Let Youth Create Their Own Education)!”

  1. Please Homeschool 2 April 2013 at 1:26 am (PERMALINK)

    Society has perpetuated a widespread myth that: “Children need to be around as many children as possible in order to them to socialize”. According to most child psychologists, this is NOT TRUE.

    * Whenever a large group of children are confined into one setting, there is a strong pressure to CONFORM.

    * School is an UN-NATURAL environment due to its RIGID structure that is highly RESTRICTIVE.

    From my experience of growing up in an upper class neighborhood where my middle/high school had the highest test scores in the county, I am credible to say that I have NEVER seen a “good” school in my life. The only difference between a “high” performing and a “low” performing school is the location. Though one school is in a better location and has a higher test score, the entire structure of schooling remains the SAME.

    The problem with schooling is with the structure of schooling itself.

  2. Rigid Structure 2 April 2013 at 1:48 am (PERMALINK)

    I would like to elaborate further on my above post regarding the “rigid” structure of schooling.

    The high school I attended had 2000 students and had five minute passing periods. Due to this, whenever I had classes on the opposite side of the campus, I had to sprint to class in order to be on time. (If I walked, I would be late).

    The whole thing was silly to me. Five minutes was way too short. First of all, my 3rd period and 4th period class were on the opposite ends of the campus. Second of all, the hallways were crowded. Third of all, if I had to use the restroom, all the stalls would be FULL.

    I wanted to use the restroom so badly, that I would ask my 3rd period teacher, “Can I leave class three minutes early to use the restroom”. I was told to wait for the bell. My 4th period teacher would always complain about me since I would fidget. What was siller was how rigid everything was, if I was one second late to class, I would get in trouble. (Even college professors are not that rigid).

    Perhaps if they let me use the restroom I would not fidget?

    I am in college right now and I am ashamed to admit that college students are treated better than children. Even though my classes are back to back, I get a 15 minute break between classes instead of five. Due to this, I no longer need to “hold it” and I no longer fidget in class.

    Fifteen minutes is time to go to the bathroom, stretch, get a snack, and get some fresh air to clear my mind.


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