Town of Webb UFSD screens anti-bullying film for students

Town of Webb school students in grades six through 12 were transported to the Strand Theatre in Old Forge on Monday, March 18 for a special viewing of the documentary film, Bully.

Bully is the true story of five bullied students and their families. Two of the male students featured—one gay, the other afflicted with Asperberger’s Syndrome—committed suicide in response to the persecution they experienced.

“The film evokes empathy for students to take a stand, to stand up for someone being bullied, whether by nonaggressively confronting the bully, helping the victim or reporting the incident to trustworthy adults in the school,” said Town of Webb School Counselor Kandis Griffin, who made arrangements for the viewing.

Griffin said the students were empowered by the film and broke into applause at the end.

In describing her experience with bullying situations at Webb, Griffin said students who don’t find their niches are the most common victims.

However, she was quick to add that Webb students tend to recognize when a bullying act is going on and stand up to the situation. 

Viewing of the film is part of a nationwide anti-bullying initiative in schools.

It also ties in with New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act, which was signed into law in September of 2010 and took effect in July of 2012.

The release of Bully in February 2012 inspired a social action movement, The Bully Project, a nationwide campaign to stop bullying. It is now available on DVD.

The Town of Webb School has its own ongoing antibullying initiative in place, according to Griffin.

It includes all-staff training for school employees at the beginning of the year, class meetings with discussions about the Dignity Act, and classroom presentations by Griffin for elementary students up to grade six.

It also includes an annual Rachel’s Challenge presentation and a number of assemblies, one of which is scheduled for May 10.

The school hosted a community/parent night presentation on the topic of bullying in September of 2012, and hosts a Friends of Rachel Club (FOR) comprised of students in grades six through nine.

The club sponsors monthly projects that are designed to encourage students to interact with other students who are outside their traditional social spheres.

An example is Mixed-up Mondays, when students sit at different tables during their lunch periods.

Griffin is currently working with grade seven students in preparing a play, What Team Will You Choose? They plan on performing the play for elementary students in the near future.

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