Girl Starts Petition to Change 'Bully' Film Rating Because Adults Are Stupid

bullyIt's more than a little ironic that Bully, a documentary that follows American kids and their families over the course of a school year, got an R rating from the MPAA. The way it's been rated, the very kids it's about can't see it. So it only seems appropriate that the most powerful voice behind a movement to get the rating changed is still in high school herself.

Three days ago Michigan high school student Katy Butler started a petition on Change.org to fight to get Bully before the eyes of more of the kids who are affected by its content. It quickly went viral, gathering 168,000 signatures at last check (and still climbing!). Using her own story of being bullied in the seventh grade, at an age too young to view an R movie mind you, is just the sort that prompted the film's makers to begin their project. As she recalls:

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When I was in 7th grade, a few guys came up behind me while putting my books in my locker. They called me names and asked me why I even bothered to show my face at school because no one liked me. I ignored them because I was scared of what else they might say and who else they might tell if I stood up to them. When I went to shut my locker, they pushed me against the wall. Then they slammed my locker shut on my hand, breaking my fourth finger. I held back tears while I watched them run away laughing. I didn’t know what to do so I stood there, alone and afraid.

If you look at the statistics -- 77 percent of today's kids have been victims of bullies -- and the overwhelming response to Lady Gaga's brand new bully-fighting organization, the Born This Way Foundation, stories like Katy's are begging to be told. And the fact that the kids in the film and Katy are willing to share them should tell the MPAA something: rating the movie R is underestimating kids' ability to handle the tough and disturbing content it contains.

Kids in middle and high schools can -- and should -- watch Bully because this is their everyday life. It may not be something prudish parents and the MPAA like to think about, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening. As Katy points out, and thousands agree right now, "a film documenting the abuse that millions of kids experience through bullying won’t be seen by the audience that needs to see it the most: middle school students and high school students." To change the rating will send a message to all those bullies that they don't get to win this fight.

Want to join the fight to end bullying? Sign Katy's petition. And then schedule a viewing of Bully with kids you know.


Image via dottiemae/Flickr

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