By: Dominic Garcia
“The Bully Effect” is a documentary made in response to “Bully”, another documentary filmed by Lee Hirsch. “The Bully Effect” premiered on the Anderson Cooper 360 show on CNN, on Thursday February 28 at 10 p.m. This documentary, in partnership with Cartoon Network, covers a year of research done in different schools about kids being bullied throughout America, and the families that were changed forever by bullying. “The Bully Effect” is another documentary that follows up on the lives of the three original families from the film “Bully” and deals with how being bullied changed their lives.
The first victim is Alex Libby. When he was 12 years old, he took the bus to get to school every day, and was bullied on that bus every day. The next victim is Kirk Smally, the father of an11 year named Ty. Ty committed suicide because he was bullied. The third victim is Kelby Johnson, who was bullied in middle school because she was a lesbian. These three and their families suffered from bullying, but they also learned how to fight against it.
Alex has suffered deeply from the bullying on the bus. In the documentary, we see actual footage of Alex being bullied. He would get hit by multiple students, have his stuff taken from him, and was stabbed with a pencil. The worst of it was when his head was slammed into the seat in front of him. The bullying on the bus continued every day for Alex, to a point where he just changed. The first time the filmmakers saw Alex he was all alone at school, and looked sad. No one seemed to care, and everyone just ignored him. Over time, his family became really concerned about him, thinking that Alex “might decide that he doesn’t want to be here anymore”.
“I really didn’t feel anything, I didn’t feel the pain I endured, I didn’t feel like I cared about anything anymore, I didn’t feel any emotion what so ever. I felt depression and that was it” said Alex.
Kirk was first introduced in the film as he was burying his 11 year old son. Ty had been being bullied for about two years, and it continued until he just couldn’t take it anymore. He committed suicide in his parents’ bedroom. It was very depressing to see Kirk bury his own son, a child that had done nothing wrong. On that day, Kirk knew he had to do something. He made a promise to Ty. Kirk promised that he would forever fight bullying in the world.
“Me and my wife, we plan on fighting bullying forever, because my son will be 11 forever,” said Kirk.
Kelby talked about how she was bullied for being a lesbian. Kelby must have felt so much pain because of the bullying; in the documentary she reveals that she tried to kill herself three times. She would also encounter others insulting her, and continuous bullying to the point where Kelby’s father thought that “something had to be done”. It continued on until a group of boys ran over Kelby with their car and then drove away. Luckily, Kelby didn’t die, but it was infuriating to hear the excuse the boys made, that Kelby simply didn’t move to avoid the car. Eventually Kelby and her family moved away from the town.
These victims and their families have been through so much pain and suffering, some to the point of suicide. But this pain led them to become better, and overcome bullying. Kirk goes around to many different schools to talk about his experience, and he has already presented to 121 schools. Kirk knows that schools can’t stop bullying, but the kids can. He believes in the kids and thinks they can do well and make a change every time he presents to a school. Kelby overcame the bullying and told her story in this documentary. She wants others to know that you should never let the bullying get to you. Alex is now a public speaker, and he talks about his experiences everywhere. Alex is a whole new person now, who loves to speak out. He loves to help others, has a lot of friends now and has higher hopes for himself. Alex is an inspiration to so many people in America, and has been given a youth award for his actions.
Seeing this documentary is really inspiring. There isn’t much bullying in our school, but there is always a lot of discussion about why no one should bully anyone or get bullied. To see that people are still getting bullied and that some have committed suicide because of it is painful. This documentary gives a voice to those in the world who are getting bullied, and it also reminds people that bullying is dangerous and it shouldn’t happen to anyone. This documentary has really affected many people, including me. Anyone who watches this will feel the emotion and inspiration that the other 500,000 people have felt.