Allow “Bully” to make change

The MPAA is stopping kids from seeing a film that prevents bullying.


According to the National Education Association, 160,000 students will miss school today due to fear and intimidation caused by bullies. As bullying has reached epidemic levels, a new film titled “Bully” attempts to address it. Following five students through a typical school day, “Bully” shows the unedited reality of what daily life is like for the estimated 13 million victims of bullying each year. Unfortunately, the film has been given an R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Like many of the parents and school administrators seen in the film, the MPAA has demonstrated how out of touch it really is. The film’s rating is based upon the use of profanity by middle school students, but what’s truly disturbing is the MPAA’s double standard. Recent films like “The Hunger Games,” which displayed teenagers engaged in combat to the death, were rated PG-13. “Bully” is a documentary film, displaying real-life events that kids encounter in school daily.

An online petition to change the rating to PG-13 has received over 500,000 signatures. The petition includes numerous lawmakers and has now inspired legislation to help schools more effectively deal with bullies and, more importantly, help protect kids. In response to the MPAA’s refusal to change the rating, producers of the film have opted to release the film unrated, allowing theater owners to establish their own guidelines.

Unlike most other films released this year, “Bully” stands to make a real difference in the lives of millions. This is true not just for the victims but for their families and even the bullies themselves. An R rating simply means many kids and young adults the film is meant to reach will be unable to see the film and the lessons it contains.