Children have always been bullied at school, but they haven't always been bullied so badly that they go home and hang themselves. For this well-meaning but nebulous video documentary, Lee Hirsch profiles five teen and preteen victims of bullying and records their parents' efforts to get some disciplinary action from complacent principals and administrators. The video has merit as a consciousness-raising exercise, yet Hirsch seldom gets face time with any bullies or their parents, and he tends to ignore the complicated social and psychological patterns that feed the problem (noted but never explored, for instance, is the fact that bully-victim relationships are sometimes curdled friendships). The video frames bullying as the school equivalent of a law-enforcement issue, pointing the finger at lazy officials. Yet as any middle school student can tell you, the enabling factor is usually the other kids, who vicariously enjoy the cruelty and then turn pious when someone gets hurt.
Director: Lee Hirsch
Producer: Cynthia Lowen, Lee Hirsch and Cindy Waitt