Student group to host movie, discussion on bullying

AUGUSTA, GA. – Nearly one in five students in an average classroom experiences bullying in some way – either as a victim or a bystander. And the effects can last long into adulthood.

To highlight the risks associated with bullying, Chi Sigma Iota will host a screening on the movie “Bully,” with a discussion following, on April 15 at 7 p.m. in University Hall 160.

“This documentary is very compelling, and we think it can provoke some good, in-depth discussion around the issue,” said Abigail Blankenship, one of the members organizing the event.

“Bully” is cinematic and character-driven, and examines five bullying stories that play out over the 2009-2010 school year. But it’s not an isolated story. More than 13 million American children will be bullied each year – at school, on the bus, online, at home, or in the community – which makes it the most common form of violence children experience. And as future school counselors and licensed professional counselors, bullying is an issue that the members of Chi Sigma Iota will work to combat.

It needs to be addressed at each level, so that people can be aware of it and know how to respond to it – and, hopefully, how to prevent it,” Blankenship said.

The impact of bullying on victims includes depression, anxiety, changes to sleep and eating patterns, decreased academic achievement and more. Bystanders who witness bullying but are not victims often have an increase in tobacco, alcohol and drug use; experience increases in mental health problems, and miss more school than those who don’t. But kids who bully others also face increased risks, such as an increased likelihood to abuse substances and to collect a criminal record.

In fact, bullying can poison an entire school system – even an entire community – because longitudinal studies show that involvement with bullying in any role is associated with negative financial, health, behavioral, and social outcomes later in life.

“Bully” was directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, and distributed by the Weinstein Company.

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